Seeing some douche driving like a jackass in an expensive car is something we’re all aware of and science is aware of. And we all enjoy a good guffaw whenever the douches rapidly run out of talent or sense and wreck dramatically, the results of which get broadcast on the internet.
But before the internet, how did people make fun of rich dipshits in their cars? Newspapers? Radio? Sheet music? Maybe all those. But also: pottery.
I’ll admit, I had no idea this tiny subgenre of pottery even existed, until I saw this Instagram post from our pal, Mr. Jalopy:
Here’s how he describes these pieces:
Wanted: Roseville Tourist/Touring pottery. The Tourist pattern captures the early days of motoring when it was viewed as an annoying folly of the rich. Each piece takes a poke at motorists wherein the broken down car is pulled by horse team, the auto scares chickens or a horse is spooked which throws the rider. I have never seen a piece in person and it always sells for big dollars. My dream piece would be the window box with ultra rare liner but that scarce wall pocket set the record at $18,000. As a car guy, I love the content but even more I love the sweet Deco pastorals on the creamy pottery. Often mistaken as hand painted, an appraiser on Antiques Roadshow said they were decals.
So, Roseville Pottery is pottery from the Ohio-based Roseville Pottery Company, and were part of the relatively inexpensive art-pottery market in the early 1900s. Roseville produced a lot of different types and genres of styles and designs, but we’re interested in what seems to be their only automotive-based line, known as the Tourist or Touring series.
These used some charmingly illustrated decals (here’s the Antiques Roadshow episode that reveals the decal secret) on butter-colored pots and planters and vases and whatever, and all showed scenes of people driving cars, but sort of unflatteringly.
As Mister Jalopy said, these illustrations represented wealthy car owners, and were shown being dicks and freaking out livestock, or breaking down and having to endure the colossal indignity of being towed back by some big dumb, smelly horse. This one adds the further indignity of mentioning that the garage is still a painful and slow 10 miles away:
They’re charming, sure, but what I really like is the direct line of automotive culture that revels in rich people getting their what-fors that stretches from pottery to videos on YouTube. I’m not sure what else I can say that about.
Well, maybe pornography; I’ve seen some pretty raunchy ancient Greek pottery. Lots of NSFW amphorae out there, people.