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Chinese Export Porcelain Washington Memorial Cover for a Platter

Ca: 1800-02


Of broad and domed ovular form with large pine-cone like finial.  Decorated along the sides with garland designs, centered with small oval reserves bearing the initials JRS; above which on each side is a Memorial reading Washington at its base and with an American Eagle on top, alongside a willow tree.  All finely painted in sepia and orange tones, with highlights in gilt.
Ca: 1800-02

Length: 11 ¾ inches
Width: 8 ½ inches

Provenance: Mottahedeh Collection; and later, the Doris and Leo Hodroff Collection
With collection labels of each on the underside in addition to old numbered labels.

Note:This cover is part of a famed Chinese export service made for the American market in the very beginning of the 19th century. All pieces from this service depict the same subject, presumed to be George Washington's tomb, after his death on December 14, 1799.  Pieces from this service include an octagonal plate in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (illustrated by Le Corbellier, China Trade Porcelain: Patterns of Exchange, New York, 1974, pp.118-119, cat. no. 50.

The identification of the monogram has been debated over the years.  Many publications dating back to the mid-1900s describe the monogram as reading JRL, and attributing it to either Philadelphia trader John R. Latimer, active in China between 1815-1833, or Judith and Robert Lewis, the son and daughter-in-law of George Washington's sister Betty. These have now been disproven and the service identified as having been made for Joseph Sims, involved in the China Trade, and Rebecca, his wife, of Philadelphia. This attribution was made after the discovery of a hand written provenance note accompanying three examples of the service that were donated to Kenmore, a plantation house museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Other shapes known from this service include rectangular platters, tureen cover, jardinière, sauce tureen, pots de crème, coffee can, and an octagonal hot water dish, oval platter. Many forms from the service are unique in form or very rarely encountered.

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