The tea urn was the centerpiece of the tea table in the late eighteenth century. Its imposing form, modeled on the urns of classical antiquity, elegantly fulfilled its function as a hot water basin. John "Jacky" Parke Custis may have ordered this urn as a part of an extensive suite of silver purchased on the occasion of his marriage to Eleanor Calvert in 1774. The surviving son of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington and the stepson of George Washington, Jacky had inherited his share of the Custis fortune the year before. The English-made urn, engraved with the Custis arms, presented an extravagant display of wealth for so young a couple. More

Date

c. 1774-1775


People


Geography


Material/Technique

Silver, ivory


Dimensions

Overall: 21 7/8 in. x 10 3/4 in. x 11 1/4 in. (55.58 cm x 27.31 cm x 28.58 cm)
Other (cover): 3 3/4 in. x 3 5/8 in. x 3 5/8 in. (9.53 cm x 9.19 cm x 9.19 cm)
Other (base): 6 3/4 in. x 5 3/4 in. x 5 3/4 in. (17.15 cm x 14.61 cm x 14.61 cm)
Other (urn): 12 3/4 in. (32.39 cm)


Credit

Purchase, 1932


Marks

Stamped on the inside lip of the cover: maker's mark, "I C" with a grain between the initials, lion passant
Stamped on the underside of the urn, at the top of the recessed chamber: Date letter, "T" in Gothic script within a shield, leopard's head crowned, lion passant, partially obscured maker's mark, "I C" with a grain between the initials.
Stamped on the inside lip of the pedestal: Date letter, "T" in Gothic script within a shield, leopard's head crowned, lion passant.
Stamped on the front of the spigot, partially obscured by a screw: lion passant.

Engraved on the shoulder of the cover and the base of the pedestal: eagle's head crest.
Engraved on the body of the urn: shield with eagle displayed, surmounted by a bow and ribbon and surrounded by a floral garland.


Object Number

W-107


Colors


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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