Home Dealers Calendar Articles Fine Art Database About AFA Login/Register
Home | Articles | Beaker Vase

Chinese Export Porcelain, circa 1780
H. 10 inches
Courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

Five-piece Chinese garniture sets were common furnishings in elite early

American homes and were generally placed for display on fireplace mantels. George Washington owned a set of Chinese porcelain blue and white garniture vases with gilt decoration, which included this beaker. The vases remained at Mount Vernon until Martha Washington’s death in 1802, when she willed “all the blue and white China in Common use” to her granddaughter Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis.

In 1878, descendants of Eleanor Lewis sold four of the vases to the United States government, which have been in the Smithsonian Institution since its inception. Until recently, scholars believed that the fifth piece in the set was lost. The January 2004 Americana sale at Christie’s, New York, produced the missing beaker vase in the sale of the effects of Miss Betty Washington Whiting, a direct descendant of Eleanor Lewis. Mount Vernon acquired the last remaining piece from Washington’s set through the assistance of an anonymous donor. The beaker vase will be displayed in a museum facility opening at Mount Vernon in 2006.

Antiques and Fine Art is the leading site for antique collectors, designers, and enthusiasts of art and antiques. Featuring outstanding inventory for sale from top antiques & art dealers, educational articles on fine and decorative arts, and a calendar listing upcoming antiques shows and fairs.