Virginia's hot summers often resulted in drought, threatening George Washington's kitchen gardens and plantation fields alike. On the occasions "that your Earth grows dry," advised Batty Langley in Washington's 1728 copy of New Principles of Gardening, "'tis requisite to give it a moderate watering […] with a watering Pot and Rose". Accordingly, Washington erected a cistern in his lower kitchen that kept a ready supply of tepid water. It was gently spread about from the perforated head, or "rose," of watering cans such as this one.


Watering-pot constructed of lead-soldered, horizontal lap- and vertical cramp-joined copper sheets; the cylindrical vessel is constructed from two wide strips of copper joined at the flaring waist; the outer walls are covered in small circular marks; the base is formed from a sheet of copper set into the bottom of the body; the vessel walls extend over the set-in base to create a stepped foot rim, the edge is wrapped around an iron wire and is soldered onto itself sealing the body cavity; the lid is joined at the top of the vessel and features a setback, rolled rim mouth; arching from the front of the cover to the back of the bottom wall of the vessel is a tubular copper handle; rising from the front of the bottom wall of the vessel is a tubular copper spout that is capped with a flared head, its face is perforated in fourteen ever widening concentric circles; the spout head is bridged to the handle by a tubular spout brace.

see also 69-33/B alternate MVLA number





Copper, lead solder, iron


Overall: 15 1/2 in. x 20 in. x 8 5/8 in. (39.37 cm x 50.8 cm x 21.92 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Thomas Blagden, 1916

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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