In the late eighteenth century, a significant factor distinguishing the social status of a host was his ability to lay a table with clean linens, including individual napkins for each of his guests. George Washington described with disdain a ball he attended in 1760 in which "pocket handkerchiefs served the purposes of Tablecloths & Napkins." In his own home, Washington was careful to maintain an adequate supply of table linens. The laundry mark at the corner of this damask napkin - "1/ GW/ 48" - indicates that it was among a set of forty-eight owned by him. The neoclassical design, which features lacy swags, flower-filled urns, and florid vines, suggests it was made in the 1790s. More







Overall: 30 3/8 in. x 41 5/8 in. (77.17 cm x 105.74 cm)


Gift of Constance Lee Peterkin, Vice Regent for West Virginia, 1926


Marked in cross-stitch in blue linen thread near one corner: "1/ G W/ 48".

Object Number



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