George Washington wrote to the Marquis de Lafayette in Paris for assistance in acquiring silver-plated wares to properly equip his Mount Vernon table. He apologized for putting Lafayette to the trouble of securing the goods for him, suggesting that he had turned to his protégé “because I do not incline to send to England (from whence I formerly had all my goods) for anything I can get upon tolerable terms elsewhere.” Washington further noted that he had “no correspondence with any Merchants or artisans in France,” and that, even if he did, the Marquis was much better aware of “our customs, taste, and manner of living in America.”
Eight “Bottle Sliders” and “Two Bread-baskets, middle size” were among the items that Washington requested. One bread basket and one bottle slider with similar neoclassical design elements remain in the Mount Vernon collection. Both items exhibit heavy piercing and engraving with rows of leaves enclosing wheelwork flowers connected by swags.
The original bottle slider is the inspiration for Mount Vernon’s Martha Washington Wine Coaster. Just like the original, a grooved, solid wood base keeps moisture off of the bottle and a felt underside protects the table. The rhodium-plated coaster does not need polishing.
The wine coaster is 1 ½” tall and 4 ½” in diameter.