At Martha Washington's invitation, French officers of General Rochambeau's army dined at Mount Vernon on July 20, 1782. The Comte de Custine de Sarreck, commander of the Saintonge regiment, sent ahead of his arrival a splendid tea and coffee service specifically made for the Washingtons at his Niderviller porcelain factory. The service's stunning array of gilded and enameled borders, each with its own pattern number painted on the pieces' undersides, suggests Custine intended it to advertise his wares to a new American market. Gifts of porcelain were common between the French aristocracy and Americans who traveled to Paris. The service Custine presented to the Washingtons is, however, the only known instance of 18th-century French porcelain crafted for an American recipient.


Cylindrical cup with an applied, molded, broken-scroll, ear-shaped handle; underside flat with foot integral with sides. Decorated in overglaze polychrome enamels and gilt with "GW" monogram nestled in a golden-brown cloud surmounted by a chaplet or wreath of three pink roses opposite of handle. Gilded border features leafy scrolls against a band of horizontal lines above a narrow band intertwined with a leafy garland. Gilded rim and foot; handle picked out in gilt with bellflowers and a foliate terminal.






Porcelain (hard paste), enamel, gilt


Overall (H x W x D): 2 in. × 2 7/8 in. × 2 1/8 in. (5.08 cm × 7.3 cm × 5.4 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Henry A. Wise, II, MD, John Sergeant Wise, Jr., and E. Tayloe Wise, 2002


Overglaze mark painted on underside (in black): factory mark or cipher of intertwined Cs over "No. 20". Underglaze incised mark to right of factory mark: "V".

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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