In the 1750s, English potteries such as Chelsea, Derby and Bow began producing whimsical and allegorical figures for use in elaborate centerpieces then popular among the English and colonial elite. Placed in sugar-fabricated gardens and landscapes, lit by candles, and surrounded by glistening fruits and desserts, the doll-like porcelains delighted diners. These four figures arrived in the first shipment of goods George and Martha Washington received following their marriage in January 1759. George Washington did not request their purchase, but his London agents, Robert Cary & Company, clearly thought the colorful, Rococo-styled figures were a wise addition to the well-to-do newlyweds' table.

Clio, the patron of history, is one of the nine Muses in Greek mythology.


Figure of a woman (missing head and right hand) seated with her body turned to the viewer's left and her left foot on a red book with gilded foredges. With her left arm she holds the History of Wales, the right page of which is impressed "Clio". She wears a white bodice with gilded designs trimmed in pink and blue, and yellow and pink skirts.






Porcelain (soft-paste), enamel, gilt


Overall: 5 1/4 in. × 4 1/16 in. × 2 5/8 in. (13.34 cm × 10.32 cm × 6.67 cm)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds donated by the Melissa and David Dvorak Family, 2004

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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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