The smooth surfaces of unglazed biscuit porcelain mimic the purity of classical sculpture and made it a fashionable choice for table ornaments in the second half of the eighteenth century. When set atop glittering, mirrored plateaux amid flowers and candelabra, such figures created a fantastic, mythical tableau. George Washington may have purchased this figure during the last weeks of his presidency for use in the "New Room" at Mount Vernon. Representing the noble simplicity of the pastoral life, this group of musicians celebrates the life Washington aspired to as a gentleman farmer.


Biscuit porcelain group composed of a central oak tree surrounded by four figures on rocky outcroppings, all on a circular base; each of the figures is supported by short stumps at their backs; the first figure, a boy in a cocked hat with bows on his shoes and at his knees, plays a drum but is missing his right arm; at his feet to his right are a pair of drums and to his left is an open music book; the second figure, a girl with a kerchief around her head, cranks a hurdy-gurdy but is missing her right arm; the third figure, a boy in a round hat, appears to be playing an instrument; his left arm and the instrument he once held are missing; the fourth figure, a young girl with her left hand raised, appears to be playing an instrument; both her right arm and her instrument are missing; at her feet on her right is a mandolin and her left is a tambourine.


c. 1789-1797



Biscuit porcelain


Overall: 13 1/4 in. x 5 5/16 in. x 5 5/16 in. (33.66 cm x 13.49 cm x 13.49 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1984

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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