Label

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.

Description

A:
Circular molded dish with a thrown cylinder attached in its well which forms a cup or tub. Dish has a plain rim and flaring or everted sides with an integral foot ring, and is decorated with gilded bands around its rim and foot. Cup or tub is finished with fine ribs near its rim and base and a gilded band around its rim; the inside of the rim is unglazed.

B:
Low-domed cover with two canted-corner tab handles attached on opposite sides and a squared strap handle attached at top center. Rim and handles picked out with gilded bands.

Alternate names for this form include: butter dish, butter tub, butter boat.

Date

1780-1788


People


Geography


Material/Technique

Porcelain (hard paste), gilt


Credit Line

Gift of Betty Taylor Bliss Dandridge, 1907


Marks

Overglaze mark stenciled or stamped on underside of dish (very worn and nearly invisible, in red): "MANUFRE/ de M.GR le Duc/ d'Angouleme/ [a] Paris". Underglaze incised script "D" near foot (unidentified mark).


Object Number

W-541


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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