The engraved inscription reads: "INTEMPERANCE TANKARD, Designed and Modeled by Moritz Retzsch"
This tankard is an extremely rare example of Tiffany's allowing an artist to sign a piece made to his design. Friedrich August Moritz Retzsch (1779-1857) was a German painter and engraver who was best known for his engraved illustrations of the works of German poets and Shakespeare.
The Temperance movement, dedicated to promoting moderation or complete abstinence from intoxicating beverages, gained great popularity in the United States during the nineteenth century. The cause was advocated by churches across the country; by 1833 there were 6,000 local societies. In 1851, the state of Maine went completely dry. Other states soon followed with some form of prohibition. Graphic woodcuts and engravings of debauched drunks helped spread the moral message of the movement.
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"The Drunkards" from Emblems of Mortality, Charleston, 1846