After the Revolutionary War, George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, and their families exchanged numerous gifts and tokens of affection, perpetuating the warm friendship forged by the General and his “adopted son,” as Lafayette styled himself. According to family tradition, Lafayette gave this tea set, of which a teapot, sugar bowl, and saucer survive, to Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Eliza Parke Custis Law.
Teapot with an ovoid body, ear-shaped handle, and curved spout on a shallow foot ring, decorated in overglaze polychrome enamels and gilt. The ground of the teapot is covered with rows of alternating pink and blue flowers. A gilded, double-intertwined leafy vine atop a blue enamel line encircles the top and base of the body. The mouth rim and spout rim are decorated with a gilded (dent-de-loup) border. The back of the handle is decorated in gilt with four bellflowers with dots between them; the sides of the handle and the edges of the scalloped terminals are outlined in gilt.
Low-domed, circular lid with a berry and leaf knop on a shallow foot ring, decorated in overglaze polychrome enamels and gilt. The shoulders of the lid are covered with rows of alternating pink and blue flowers. A gilded, double-intertwined leafy vine atop a blue enamel line encircles the top of the lid and the base of the shoulder. The edge of the rim is decorated with a gilded (dent-de-loup) border.
Porcelain (soft-paste), enamel, gilt
Overall (H x W x D): 4 15/16 in. x 6 1/4 in. x 3 9/16 in. (12.54 cm x 15.88 cm x 9.05 cm)
Gift of Mary Hobart and John Gibbons, 1985
Overglaze mark painted on underside of teapot (in blue): factory mark or cipher of intertwined Ls enclosing an “H” with the initials “Bo” below. ("Bo" is the unidentified painter’s mark).
Underglaze incised mark above factory mark: script letter "g" (unidentified potter’s mark).
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