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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.


Oval molded tray with an attached dish of conforming shape having undulating sides with four indentations and a shallow foot ring. Dish and tray are decorated with gilded dentate (dent-de-loup) borders around their rims, and a gilded band around the base of the dish. Inside rim of dish is unglazed.

High-domed cover with undulating profile and sides with four indentations, and a flattened ovoid finial. Decorated with a gilded dentate (dent-de-loup) border around the bottom edge, and a gilded burst of rays and band on the finial. Vertical flange.


c. 1778




Porcelain (soft-paste), gilt

Credit Line

Purchase, 1956


(a) Overglaze mark painted on underside of tray (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: script letter "V"(?) (unidentified potter's mark).

(b) Cover is unmarked.

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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