American Decorative Arts
Manufacturer: Enoch Wood and Sons, British, 1820–1846
Publisher Source material by: Francis Jukes, British, 1745–1812
Publisher Source material by: Alexander Robertson, American, 1772–1841

Plate with a View of Mount Vernon


Blue, transfer-printed earthenware

6 1/2 × 6 1/2 in. (16.5 × 16.51 cm)
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection

Mount Vernon, the residence and later burial place of George Washington, was built in 1743 by his brother, Lawrence. Washington continued to expand and refine the property until his death in 1801. Even before it became a national historic shrine when it was purchased in 1860 by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union, Mount Vernon was a popular tourist destination. It appeared on all sorts of ceramics, ranging from Chinese export porcelain to earthenware produced in Staffordshire for the American market. The English potters based their designs on a variety of print sources. This view derives from an 1800 engraving by Francis Jukes after a drawing by Alexander Robertson, a Scottish artist who settled in New York in 1792. Robertson’s composition has been significantly cropped to fit the circular dimensions of the plate. Several figures and trees were also added by the manufacturer. The transfer-printed shell border was one of Enoch Wood and Sons’ stock designs and was their most frequently used border.

The ease of swapping out the central images and border patterns was central to the success of the Staffordshire potteries, yet it sometimes led to errors. The back of this plate incorrectly labels the image “The Capitol, Washington.” The manufacturer’s lack of first-hand knowledge about America undoubtedly contributed to the error.

Manufactured in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England
Depicted Mount Vernon, Virginia, United States
19th century
Containers - Ceramics
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.