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 bowl, W-1436/A; tea caddy, W-3024/A; custard cup with lid, W-1436/C.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) custard cup molded into a squat shape with a fluted base on a short foot rim, with an extruded strap handle of two entwined lengths and leaf-and-berry terminals. 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. Extending towards the base is a variation of what is commonly called the Fitzhugh design - a border featuring a hexagonal diaper pattern with alternating butterflies and foliage. In the center of the exterior wall, opposite the handle, is a cartouche of leaves encircling the insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati. The badge hangs from a knotted blue and white ribbon. On either side of the cartouche is a spray of gilded flowers. Encircling the foot rim is a blue band and another thin band of joined circles and dots. The exterior of the strap handle is embellished with two stemmed flowers in blue. The leaf-and-berry terminals are painted blue and gilded.
Colorless feldspathic-glazed white porcelain (hard-paste) custard cup molded into a slightly domed lid with a flat scalloped rim, inner lip, press molded flower finial stump and hand molded leaves. 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. Extending towards the finial is a variation of what is commonly called the Fitzhugh design - a border featuring a hexagonal diaper pattern with alternating butterflies and foliage. Encircling the finial is a band of gilded husk-and-dot chain. The flower bud finial stump, stem and three leaves are painted blue and gilded.
Porcelain (hard-paste), enamel, gilt
Overall (F.1): 2 1/2 in. x 2 3/8 in. x 3 1/2 in. (6.35 cm x 6.05 cm x 8.89 cm)
Overall (F.2): 1 in. x 2 1/2 in. (2.54 cm x 6.35 cm)
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