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 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; and sauce tureen stand, W-4522.


Colorless feldspathic-glazed white porcelain (hard-paste) tureen molded into a rectangular shape with a scalloped foot rim and lip and rabbit-head handles. Decorated in hand-painted under glaze blue and over glaze polychrome enamels. Along the foot rim a thin band of joined circles, each containing a dot, followed by a gilt band and another blue band. Above which is a row of hexagons and another blue band. Separating the foot rim from the base of the tureen is an additional blue band. On either side of the tureen is a cartouche of gilded husk and dot chain. Flanking each cartouche is a border of what is commonly called the Fitzhugh design - a hexagonal diaper pattern with alternating butterflies and foliage. Within each cartouche 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. On either end of the tureen is an applied rabbit-head handle painted blue and gilded.

Colorless feldspathic-glazed white porcelain (hard-paste) molded into a slightly domed lid, it shape mirrors the oblong scalloped rim of the sauce tureen. Along the lip is a thin band of joined circles and dots above which is a gilt band and another blue band. Extending towards the finial is a Fitzhugh border terminating at a gilded husk chain. In the center of the lid's side, directly above each figure of Fame, is a cartouche of leaves encircling the insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati hanging from a knotted blue and white ribbon. At either end of the lid is a spray of gilded flowers. The pomegranate finial is painted blue and gilded.


c. 1784-1785



Porcelain (hard-paste), enamel, gilt


Overall (H.1): 2 5/8 in. × 7 1/8 in. × 4 5/8 in. (6.67 cm × 18.1 cm × 11.75 cm)
Other (H.2): 2 in. × 6 in. × 4 3/4 in. (5.08 cm × 15.24 cm × 12.07 cm)
Overall (H.1-.2): 2 3/4 in. x 7 1/8 in. x 4 5/8 in. (6.99 cm x 18.11 cm x 11.76 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1944

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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