As president, George Washington desired tablewares that would strike a stylistic balance between appearing too regal and not being sufficiently dignified enough to impress foreign dignitaries. In March 1790, he purchased a 309-piece service from the departing French minister, the Comte de Moustier. Moustier had acquired most of these porcelains from the royal manufactory at Sèvres in 1778, then added pieces from the Angoulême and Nast factories over the next decade. All are minimally decorated with gilded rims. Such understated elegance matched Washington's preference for neat and plain, while offering his guests fashionable French porcelain with a possible subtle reference to ancient white marble statuary and republican ideals.


Squat, circular cup with rounded sides and an attached, tapered, scrolling, ear-shaped handle on raised circular foot. Gilded dentate (dent-de-loup) border around the rim and a solid gilded band around the foot; the sides of handle picked out in gold with sprigs and dots along its top.






Porcelain (soft paste), gilt


Overall: 2 in. x 4 1/2 in. x 3 1/4 in. (5.08 cm x 11.43 cm x 8.26 cm)

Credit Line

Bequest of Ella Mackubin, 1956


Overglaze mark painted on bottom (in blue): factory mark or cipher of intertwined Ls with a script "g" below (unidentified gilder's mark). Underglaze incised mark to left of factory mark: scrolled letter "M" (unidentified potter's or turner's mark).

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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