As the Revolutionary War drew to a close, George Washington was again free to direct his attention to his beloved Mount Vernon. Eager to update his outmoded tablewares, he asked his nephew, Bushrod Washington, to discreetly discover whether fused silverplate "is fashionable and much used in genteel houses in France and England." Having received a favorable answer, Washington acquired an extensive set of silverplated wares, including this bread basket for serving bread, cake, and other sweetmeats during dessert. Its intricate rosettes, garlands, and pierced work were characteristic of the novel designs that could be efficiently and affordably produced in a nearly imperceptible imitation of true silver.


Pierced and engraved oval basket with swing handle on pedestal foot; raised body with flared rim having applied cast beaded borders; pierced sides featuring a central band of twelve, equidistant rosettes and an undulating leafy garland enclosed by two narrower bands of four-petaled flowers with leafy borders; flared pedestal foot with pierced reeding; stepped band applied around base; ribbed, tapered handle with applied cast beaded borders, foliate terminals, and a cartouche at top center; cast shells applied to basket's exterior below handle pivots; scratched on the underside of the basket is the number "385".


c. 1783-1784



Fused silverplate on copper


Overall (H x W x D): 11 1/4 in. x 10 in. x 14 5/8 in. (28.58 cm x 25.4 cm x 37.16 cm)
Other (basket alone, without handle up): 4 1/8 in. (10.49 cm)
Other (handle): 7 3/8 in. x 11/16 in. x 9 3/4 in. (18.75 cm x 1.75 cm x 24.77 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1981
Conservation courtesy of the Life Guard Society of Historic Mount Vernon

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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