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Order of Cincinnati Plate

Place Made:
Jingdezhen and Guangzhou China
Date Made:
DIA 9-5/8″; HOA 1″
Accession Number:
Chinese export porcelain plate with scalloped rim, and underglaze blue floral and honeycomb-like border. The central image is of Fame personified as a winged female blowing a trumpet. In her hand she holds the badge of the Society of the Cincinnati – a bald eagle with a shield on its chest. The shield shows Cincinnatus giving his sword back to representatives of the Roman Senate.

This plate bearing the badge of the Society of the Cincinnati was part of a service that Belonged to President George Washington. Services of this design were ordered by Samuel Shaw, a Revolutionary War vetren and the first American merchast to go to China, for Washington and other members of the Society in 1785. Washington’s service originally consisted of a diner service, breakfast service, and tea service, and numbered 302 peices.

Following Washington’s death in 1799 the dinner service passed to his step-grandson George Washington Park Custis and to Washington’s daughter, Mary Ann Randolph Custis, who married Robert E. Lee. Members of the the Thompson family, descendants of Robert E. Lee, gave eight plates from the service to Washington and Lee University.
Credit Line:
Loan courtesy of the Reeves Collection, Washington and Lee University, Gift of Euchlin and Louise Herreshoff Reeves.