As the Revolutionary War drew to a close, French and American officers formed the Society of the Cincinnati in the name of mutual support and friendship. The fraternity's name was inspired by the 5th-century B.C.E. Roman Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who left his plow to defend Rome in battle, afterwards returning to his farm. George Washington, who resumed a private life at Mount Vernon after the war, was the Society's first President General. Washington perhaps sought to perpetuate his image as the modern-day Cincinnatus when he purchased an extensive Chinese export porcelain service decorated with a simplified version of the society's insignia - a gold eagle badge bearing an oval medallion containing a depiction of Cincinnatus receiving his sword from the Roman Senators. The majority of items in this unique set feature the trumpeting figure of Fame holding aloft the insignia.

See also soup plates, W-483, W-2559, and W-519; round dinner plates, W-1436/G, W-1436/I, W-1436/ J, and W-1436/K; platter, W-1436/D; tea bowl, W-1436/A; tea caddy, W-3024/A; custard cups with lids, W-1436/C.1-2 and W-1436/F.1-2; custard cup lid, W-3045; tureen stand, W-4069; teapot and lid, W-1436/E.1-2; sauce tureen and lid, W-1436/H.1-2; and sauce tureen stand, W-4522.


c. 1784-1785


  • Made - China
  • Decorated - China


Porcelain (hard-paste), enamel, gilt


Overall (Diameter): 1 in. x 9 3/4 in. x 9 3/4 in. (2.54 cm x 24.77 cm x 24.77 cm)


Purchase, 1944

Object Number



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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