As the Revolutionary War drew to a close, French and American officers formed the Society of the Cincinnati in the name of mutual support and friendship. The fraternity's name was inspired by the 5th-century B.C.E. Roman Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who left his plow to defend Rome in battle, afterwards returning to his farm. George Washington, who resumed a private life at Mount Vernon after the war, was the Society's first President General. Washington perhaps sought to perpetuate his image as the modern-day Cincinnatus when he purchased an extensive Chinese export porcelain service decorated with a simplified version of the society's insignia - a gold eagle badge bearing an oval medallion containing a depiction of Cincinnatus receiving his sword from the Roman Senators. The majority of items in this unique set feature the trumpeting figure of Fame holding aloft the insignia.

See also soup plates, W-483, W-2559, and W-519; round dinner plates, W-1436/B, W-1436/G, W-1436/I, W-1436/ J, and W-1436/K; platter, W-1436/D; tea caddy, W-3024/A; custard cups with lids, W-1436/C.1-2 and W-1436/F.1-2; custard cup lid, W-3045; tureen stand, W-4069; teapot and lid, W-1436/E.1-2; sauce tureen and lid, W-1436/H.1-2; and sauce tureen stand, W-4522.


Colorless feldspathic-glazed white porcelain (hard-paste) tea bowl molded into a circular form with foot rim, flared sides, scalloped rim, and a moderate well. Decorated in hand-painted under glaze blue and over glaze polychrome enamels. Along the outer rim is a thin band of joined circles, each containing a dot, followed by a gilt band and another blue band. Beneath is a border of what is commonly called the Fitzhugh design - a hexagonal diaper pattern with alternating butterflies and foliage. In the center of the exterior wall is a cartouche of leaves encircling the insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati. The badge hangs from a blue and white ribbon knotted to the top of the cartouche of leaves. Extending from the rim of the interior well is a border of gilded husk-and-dot chain.


c. 1784-1785



Porcelain (hard-paste), enamel, gilt


Overall: 2 13/16 in. x 4 13/16 in. (7.14 cm x 12.22 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1944

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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