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When Eleanor "Nelly" Parke Custis came to live at Mount Vernon after the death of her father in 1781, her grandmother, Martha Washington, ensured that she received an exceptional education. The Washingtons' household accounts of the 1790s hint at Nelly's developing interest in the arts, listing tuition for drawing masters and the purchase of instruction books, drawing paper, and paint boxes. Likely repurposed watch glasses, these tiny glass cups may have been used by Nelly to prepare watercolors. Throughout her life, she enjoyed painting for her own enjoyment and for family and friends.


Clear glass cups; concave with beveled lip and flat base.


c. 1789-1852




Overall: 5/8 in. x 1 3/4 in. (1.6 cm x 4.45 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Lyttleton B. P. Gould, Jr., M. Chapin Krech, Dr. Shepard Krech, Alvin W. Krech, Peter Chapin, Charles Chapin, and Mrs. Charles Merrill Chapin, III, in memory of Esther Maria Lewis Chapin, 1986

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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