Label

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; tea bowl, W-1436/A; 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.

Description

Colorless feldspathic-glazed white porcelain (hard-paste) platter molded into an oblong form with a wide, flat, scalloped rim. Decorated in hand-painted under glaze blue and over glaze polychrome enamels. Along the outer rim is a band of gilding, beneath which is a thin band of joined circles, each containing a dot. Underneath is a band of blue, followed by a gilt band and another blue band. Extending towards the inner edge of the rim is a variation of what is commonly called the Fitzhugh design - a border featuring a hexagonal diaper pattern with alternating butterflies and foliage. On the wall of the interior is a band of blue hexagonal diaper pattern that terminates in two thin blue bands. Extending from the foot of the interior is a border of gilded husk chain. At the center of the plate is a polychrome enamel winged figure, representing "Fame," in a green robe and pink sash. The figure holds a trumpet in its right hand and the insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati in the left. The badge hangs from a knotted blue and white ribbon.

Date

c. 1784-1785


Geography


Material/Technique

Porcelain (hard-paste), enamel, gilt


Dimensions

Overall: 7/8 in. × 10 3/8 in. × 8 in. (2.24 cm × 26.35 cm × 20.32 cm)


Credit Line

Purchase, 1944


Object Number

W-1436/D


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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