Dinner Plate

From the state dinner and dessert service of Ulysses S. Grant (President 1869-1877)

Haviland & Co., Limoges, France, 1842 - present

Made in Limoges, France, Europe


1870 or 1873

Porcelain with printed, enamel, and gilded decoration

1 x 9 3/8 inches (2.5 x 23.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of the McNeil Americana Collection, 2006

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Additional information:
  • PublicationAmerican Presidential China: The Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)
    President, 1869-77

    Porcelains acquired for the White House during the Grant administration and for the family’s personal use at that time exemplify the continued American preference for French products, and, more specifically, for those of the French-American firm Haviland and Company at Limoges.

    In 1869, the White House ordered a new, 587-piece porcelain service through J. W. Boteler and Brother, who engaged the French firm Haviland and Company. Correspondence preserved in the National Archives and in the archives of Haviland and Company reveals the care with which Charles E. Haviland (1839-1922) carried out the White House commission. The painter Lissac, head of Haviland’s decorating department, produced drawings of flowers that Haviland described as “accurate, simple in arrangement, and beautiful.”1 The designs were transferred to the porcelain by a combination of printing and hand painting. Inasmuch as Haviland and Company did not regularly label their products until 1876, only a few of the Grant administration pieces from the first order in 1870 bear an early printed factory mark, although some of the footed objects in an 1873 reorder bear the Haviland mark as well as that of the retailer.

    Reproductions or duplicates of the Grant state service, probably made by Haviland and Company for sale to the public, bear the mark “Administration U.S. Grant” on the reverse. These may have been made as early as 1870, but they are thought to date to the time of the Centennial Exhibition in 1876 or later. Susan Gray Detweiler, from American Presidential China: The Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2008), p. 55.

    1) Klapthor, Margaret Brown, et al. Official White House China. 2d ed. New York: Harry N. Abrams, p. 95. Lissac’s given name is not known.