Society of the Cincinnati chocolate pot and two-handled mugs, ca. 1790

    The China trade porcelain chocolate pot and matching two-handled mugs bear the insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati and the cipher HLK for Henry and Lucy Knox. The lid of the chocolate pot has small holes, through which chocolate sediment could be stirred before pouring. About 1790, Major Samuel Shaw, an active member of the Society, commissioned several sets of Cincinnati china from Canton for himself and fellow members of the Massachusetts chapter, including David Townsend, Benjamin Lincoln, William Eustis, William Lithgow, Constant Freeman, Henry Knox and possibly Henry Jackson. Shaw wrote to Knox on December 20, 1790, “A set of porcelain for the tea tables of my dear Mrs.Knox … I now send in the Washington … As one of the most amiable and good Sisters of the Cincinnati … I have taken the liberty of blending her cypher with yours.” He then enumerated the 150 pieces of the service. Several extant pieces of this pattern are scattered through museums and private collections across the country, but only four pieces bearing Knox’s cipher are known to still exist, and Knox’s is the only example of a chocolate pot.


    Donated to Montpelier by Henry Thatcher Fowler

    Accession number: C-1-41


    Detail from Cincinnati chocolate pot that shows a closeup of the insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati.
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