Chinese hand-painted blue and white porcelain in standard patterns, such as landscape and river scenes, offered Westerners a romanticized glimpse of the exotic East and were prized for their durability and artistry. This custard cup lid is part of an extensive dinner service which once belonged to Elizabeth Willing Powel, wife of Philadelphia mayor Samuel Powel who died in 1793, and a close friend of George and Martha Washington. Powel family descendants recorded that George Washington dined off this porcelain, perhaps while attending one of the dinners or salons for which the intelligent, witty Mrs. Powel was known.


Low-domed, circular lid with a gilded berry-and-leaf knop, a wide, flaring flange, and a shallow foot ring. The lid features underglaze cobalt blue and overglaze gilded decoration. A landscape with a house on a rocky, wooded island is on one side of the dome, and two sets of lines representing water appear opposite. The lip of the lid has a trellis-diaper border with spearheads and double dots. Single gilded lines outline the outside edge and the space between the trellis and spearhead sections of the border.

Pattern Names: Nanking.





Porcelain (hard-paste), gilt


Overall (H x W x D): 1 in. x 2 5/16 in. x 2 5/16 in. (2.54 cm x 5.87 cm x 5.87 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Thomas I. H. Powel, 1978

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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