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Even as a bachelor, George Washington acquired choice furnishings which bespoke his gentility and position in Virginia society. He was at the height of elegance in serving tea in the "Compleat sett Fine Image China" that he received in 1757. Throughout the first half of the eighteenth century, Europeans preferred to take their tea in the Chinese fashion, sipping out of bowls rather than handled cups. Saucers, a European invention, held the hot bowl and provided a place for resting spoons.


Circular bowl on a high, circular foot; exterior is decorated with overglaze polychrome enamel (famille rose) vignettes; in the reserve on one side, a Chinese man and woman stand in a garden near a building; in the continuation of the scene in the other reserve, one child lays on the ground while another stands next to a woman who is seated on a bench and holding a blue fan, with a lake in the background; both vignettes are framed by underglaze blue flowers and scrollwork; the sides of the bowl between these vignettes are decorated with additional reserves of lakeside scenes in overglaze red enamel framed by underglaze blue flowers and scrollwork; rim and ground between scrollwork picked out in gilt; interior undecorated.


c. 1755



Porcelain (hard paste), enamel, gilt


Overall (H x W): 2 in. x 3 7/16 in. (5.08 cm x 8.74 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Francis F. Beirne, Vice Regent for Maryland, 1949

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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