ABRAHAM LINCOLN WHITE HOUSE SERVICE LIMOGES PORCELAIN BREAKFAST PLATE, scallop-mold rim, decorated with the so-called "Alhambra" pattern in gold to the inner border and with the Solferino purple band to the shoulder, bracketed by slender gold lines, center painted by Edward Lycett in New York with a spread-wing American eagle atop an American shield before a rising sun and surrounded by a semi-circular border of clouds, the eagle holding arrows and olive branches in its talons, above a pink banderole containing the motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM". The plate underside unmarked indicating it is from the service used by the Lincolns. Ordered by Mary Todd Lincoln in New York City in 1861. 8 1/2" D.
Shallow chip to rim reverse that only minimally affects the front profile, otherwise undamaged with only minor wear to rim gilding.
Literature: Margaret Brown Klapthor - White House China of the Lincoln Administration in the Museum of History and Technology, May 10, 2011 (E-book #36082), details the complete history of the Lincoln service._x000D_
Margaret Brown Klapthor - Official White House China, Second Edition, p. 83.
Provenance: A recently discovered, fresh-to-the-market example.
Catalogue Note: Mary Todd Lincoln and her cousin traveled to New York City in May of 1861, where her visit to the esteemed E. V. Haughwout & Co. porcelain company was noted in the New York Daily Tribune. Haughwout's was the most prestigious outlet for Haviland china, which was sent undecorated to the US from France. Haughwout's decorating atelier, upstairs from the selling floor, was one of the largest workshops of its kind in the US, where women painters from England and the Continent would decorate porcelains to order. A wood engraving of the salesroom is illustrated by Nathaniel Orr & Company, in the Cosmopolitan Art Journal 3. _x000D_
The plate design of the Lincoln service was initiated in the early 1850s for President Pierce. Haughwout had shown an identical plate at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in New York, 1853, but for a blue rather than the purple border Mrs. Lincoln later chose. President Pierce decided the service was too lavish for his taste, and ordered a plain, red-rimmed service with a gold edge. _x000D_
By the time the Lincoln's occupied the White House, the red-rimmed Pierce service had seen far better days, with many pieces broken, chipped and worn. There was not enough china to hold a state dinner, and thus Mrs. Lincoln was given funds to address this as well as other house-keeping redecoration after the 1860 election._x000D_
The Lincoln china was much admired for its fashionable color palette and gilded borders, but the porcelain itself broke easily and was replenished twice after Lincoln's assassination. In addition to the post-Lincoln reorders of this service, later copies of the china were produced to sell to the public as souvenirs.