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No category, within the Gunston Hall Probate Inventory Database, except Beverages, has as many entries as Food Service. Even there, if empty bottles are subtracted from the Beverage category, the number of entries for Food Service is roughly double that of beverage forms.(1) In part the size of this category is a reflection of the types of items it includes. Tablewares in elite households were numerous and consisted of items which are often owned in multiples--knives and forks, plates and dishes, sets of casters and cruets. The large quantities are also indicative of the increasing importance placed upon dining practices in elite households as the 18th century progressed.

The dining table in the 18th century was not merely a place to take sustenance but a stage for social theater. It was a place of social ritual, where the presentation of self was played out according to a prescribed etiquette involving an increasingly elaborate variety of tablewares. Failure to perform properly at the dinner table marked one as not of the elite or best social standing. A mid-19th-century writer in Harpers New Monthly Magazine wrote, “Show me the way people dine and I will tell you their rank among civilized beings.”(2)

Dining--the foods served, the way they were presented on the table, the dishes and utensils used to serve and consume it, and the manner with which host and guest comported themselves during the meal--were all important parts of the dinner as social theater. At one end of the spectrum, people might eat with silver forks off imported Chinese porcelain while at the other end they used their fingers to scoop one pot meals from a communal dish. One such scene was recorded by Marylander, Alexander Hamilton, who in 1744 embarked upon a trip from Annapolis to New England. At the ferry over the Susquehanna River, he was invited by the ferryman and his family to partake with them of their main meal. Hamilton, however, declined, finding their table manners and accouterments lacking. He wrote that their meal was:

. . . a homely dish of fish without any kind of sauce. . . . They had no cloth upon the table, and their mess was in a dirty, deep wooden dish which they evacuated with their hands, cramming down skins, scales, and all. They used neither knife, nor, spoon, plate, or napkin because, I suppose, they had none to use.

He then noted, “I looked upon this as a picture of the primitive simplicity practiced by our forefathers long before the mechanic arts had supplied them with instruments for the luxury and elegance of life.”(3)

Many of the poor continued to eat their meals this way, or perhaps with the simple refinement of a spoon, well into the 19th century. However, by the mid-18th century, perhaps motivated by aspirations to fashion and gentility, more and more individuals were choosing to spend their disposable income on individual tablewares for each diner. As vast as it was, the social distance from communal bowl to individual plate was minor compared to that from individualized place settings to multiple-course genteel dinners which often lasted for several hours.

The demands of this type of dining were such as to require special knowledge of table etiquette from both host and guest. A father from one of Virginia's most prominent families felt such knowledge important enough to include a special reminder in a letter to his son who was being educated in England. He wrote:

. . . never give in to excess; nor let the pleasures of the table or the bottle seduce you to indulge either to satiety--to select properly for the plate at table will shew whether a man is well educated or not--he will take his soup or fish first; then his roast of fowl or game, or mutton or beef; and never make a dead set at the most elegant viand at the Table. . . .(4)

Well into the 19th century, authors of advice and etiquette books were still informing their readers that “To perform faultlessly the honours of the table is one of the most difficult things in society."(5)

The complexity of the meal is captured in even the sometimes cryptic descriptions which period sources give of the foods served. Virginian Martha Blodgett recorded in her diary that on snowy February 7, 1795, she served for dinner, “soup, veal, turkey, tongue, fish, veal's head (drest turtle fashion), jelly, creams, mince pies, puffs, chescakes [sic], flumery, apples, nuts, raisins & almonds,” all washed down with two bottles of porter and four of table beer.(6)

Most of the tablewares used in serving food in elite 18th-century households were either ceramic or metal in material. In elite households, the ceramic items would have been either porcelain, most likely of Chinese manufacture, or refined stone or earthenware made in one of the dozens of potteries made in Great Britain. The metal wares would have been made of either silver or pewter, depending upon the intended function and the personal preference of the owner.

Period documentary sources are filled with references to the ordering and purchasing of tablewares. Merchants' order books and newspaper advertisements provide insight into the range and numbers of food service items available to Chesapeake consumers. Additionally, personal papers include orders for such items.

Annapolis merchant William Roberts, in August of 1763, listed in his advertisement ivory-handled knives and forks in two sizes, “pewter dishes of all sizes, soup and plain plates,” table spoons, “caffing” dishes, and a “variety of stone and earthenware too voluminous to be particularly mentioned.”(7) More detailed as to forms was an advertisement by Norfolk merchants Balfour & Barr in 1766, who wanted the public to know that among their recently imported goods were china plates and dishes, earthenware butter tubs and stands, egg cups, salts, pepper castors, patty pans, shapes for fruit and “sallad,” pickle leaves and stands, sauce boats, mustard pots, blancmange-cups, and “English china of all sorts.”(8)

The Maryland firm of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, in 1771, ordered a wide variety of such items, including china custard cups, china patty pans, brass “chaffing” dishes, white stone and cream colored table, soup, dessert and breakfast plates, dishes “well sorted,” mustard pots with bone spoons, tureens and under dishes, salad dishes of various shapes, cruets and stands, fruit dishes, egg cups, “small Oval Open work pickle stands,” salts, and a “Glass dish for a floating Island.”(9) Similar goods appear in the invoices of other merchants such as John Norton & Sons of Virginia whose orders for knives and forks illustrate some of the various types available. Among the goods ordered were knives and forks with “split bone,” riveted “Shambuck,” riveted “Red Buck,” “Real Buck Swell'd,” “Ebony,” black “Chinese” dessert, “Sham Ivory” as well as sets of knives and forks in cases.(10)

The accounts and store inventories of regional merchants illustrate the local availability of such goods. In 1753, Alexandria merchants Ramsay and Dixon sold to their various customers an assortment of tablewares, including soup and flat plates, pewter salts, knives, forks and spoons, and soup “spoons.”(11) In September of 1758, Virginian William Harding bought both Delft and pewter plates.(12) In Prince George's County, Maryland, the estate inventories of local merchants provide evidence of such goods among store merchandise. The 1787 inventory of Thomas Hewitt showed a wide variety of goods among his stock, ranging from six different sizes of pewter dishes and two types of pewter plates, to 18 glass salts and 6 queen's ware cheese toasters.(13) Eight years later, fellow Prince George's merchant William Sydebothom's inventory contained a varied assortment of table wares including deep and shallow “white Queens Ware plates,” “blue edge do [plates],” “blue and white china plates,” “Enamble [sic] do [plates],” large and small “puding pans,” and “small baking cups.”(14)

As with other types of furnishings, consumers sometimes ordered tablewares directly from abroad. They were often quite detailed about what they wanted. George Washington, in a 1758 letter to London, requested “2 dozn dishes (properly sorted) 2 dozn deep Plates, and 4 dozn Shallow ditto [plates] that allowance may be made for breakage,” adding in a telling note, “pray let them be neat and fashionable or send none.”(15) Four years later he was again ordering modish tablewares, this time requesting, “One very full and complt Sett of Table China” and “2 dozn Table Knives & 2 dozn Forks with China handles to suit Ditto” as well as “2 dozn small Desert Knives & 2 doz: forks to ditto.”(16)

Clearly, tablewares for food service were an important part of the furnishings of elite households. The following sections of this report examine in detail the various types of tablewares which are recommended for inclusion among the furnishings of Gunston Hall.


The Oxford English Dictionary's earliest reference to “break-fasting” as the first meal of the day dates to the 17th-century, though household accounts of the 16th-century record the provisions served for “Braikfaste.”(18) The earliest reference to specific “breakfast” items found within the Gunston Hall Probate Inventory Database is to 4 breakfast cloths found in the 1753 inventory of Lawrence Washington. The earliest “breakfast” item located within the research files is a listing for breakfast knives in the scheme of goods ordered by Alexander Henderson for the Glassford store at Occoquan in 1760.(19) A review of all 353 inventories found in the database shows a clear increase of inventories listing all types of breakfast items through the second half of the century, peaking in the 1790s.

In 1764, Charles Carroll, Barrister, included among a list of various types of tablewares being ordered from his London agent a request for “1 Dozen nankeen Bread and Butter or Breakfast Plates.”(20) In 1771 another Charles Carroll ordered “12 cream colourd breakfast Plates,” and in 1772 Maryland merchants Wallace, Davidson & Johnson included white stone “Barley Corn” pattern breakfast plates among the goods ordered.(21) In 1773, Virginia merchants John Norton & Sons included “6 Dozn Breakfast Plates,” to be of the most fashionable ware, as part of an extensive order of earthen and stone wares to be shipped from England. Even with the restrictions on trade caused by the American Revolution, in 1779, breakfast wares were among the forms available for sale by the Alexandria firm of Hooe and Harrison.(22) Not quite a decade later, a listing for “2 doz Small breakfast Plates Queens China” is among the items enumerated in an invoice found in the papers of Robert Carter of Nomini Hall.(23) Two dozen “wood handled breakfast knives and 2 do forks stained green” were among the goods ordered from London in 1784 by Robert Beverley and the Dumfries firm of Smith, Huie and Alexander in 1791 sold “1 doz. breakfast knives” valued at 5 shillings.(24)

While it is clear that the terms breakfast plates and breakfast knives and forks carry specific meanings to the merchants and patrons who ordered and purchased them, the meaning of these designations is lost to modern scholarship. Discussions with a number of scholars in the field suggest that these “breakfast” items were smaller than their counterparts intended for the dinner table; however, none could cite specific examples to confirm their assumptions.(25) However, the Carroll order for “Bread and Butter or Breakfast Plates” cited above, together with a Robert Beverley order in 1763 for large knives and forks followed by a request for “1 Dozn small Ivory handled Knives for Breakfast [and] 1 Dozn small Forks”(26) seem to support this hypothesis.

Breakfast items occur in 40% of Rural Elite Inventories (REI). Approximately 1/3 of the households having type (HHT) have breakfast cutlery (12% REI) and 85% of HHT have breakfast plates (34% REI).(27) Of the family inventories, only ELBCK65 lists breakfast knives and forks, including “9 breakfast Bone handle” examples among the household knives and forks. Interestingly, this form is among George Mason IV's few known purchase records. Mason bought a half dozen breakfast knives and forks for 3 at the Glassford Company's Piscataway, Maryland store in August of 1766.(28) Breakfast plates are among the items cited in MASON86 who had six Queen's China breakfast plates. It is presumed that plates were also among the 36 pieces which comprised MASON00's set of breakfast china.


Breakfast Cutlery:   6 prs. knives and forks (12 pieces)

Origin:   Britain
Date:   Circa 1766
Style:   Determined by date and material
Material:   Wood /horn /bone /ivory handles

Breakfast Plates:   6-12

Origin:   Britain or China
Date:   1760-1788
Style:   Determined by date and origin
Material:   Creamware or Chinese Export Porcelain



It was expected practice at the 18th-century dinner table that one would add seasonings and condiments to the food. Salt was placed on the table in open salt cellars, pepper was served in castors or pepper boxes, and vinegars and sauces of various types came to the table in cruets. Often the castors and cruets were grouped together in a frame. These items were referred to in period terms as castor and/or cruet stands.

One early 19th-century source gives a clear indication of the importance of these items. Robert Roberts, in the first American servants' directory gave special instructions for “trimming the cruet stand or casters.” He wrote:

This is the most particular article that belongs to your dinner utensils; therefore you should remember to examine it every day to see if all the cruets are clean, and full of every thing [sic] that is necessary to have in them, such as mustard, oil, vinegar, catsup, soy, black pepper, and cayenne, or other sauces that you may have bottles for. . . .

He then went on to direct that “you should likewise empty out your salt, and wipe dry your salt cellars. . . .”(29)

That the items outlined in Roberts were also part of 18th-century dinner tables is evidenced in orders like those listed in the Charles Carroll letterbook. Among the foodstuffs ordered in 1771 were salad oil and a “case filled with bottles mustard, 1 Cask of best white wine Vinegar 30 gals, 1 Quart of Soy, 2 do of Ketchup” and “ lb of Cayan pepper.”(30)

Chesapeake merchants included forms for serving condiments among the goods offered for sale in regional stores. Among the articles inventoried in the John Glassford & Company Piscataway store in 1769 were “1 cruet frame with five cutt glasses,” “2 Common Cruets,” and “Mustard pots.”(31) An invoice of goods shipped to the same store in 1774 included Queen's China mustard pots, salts, and “Casters for Pepper.”(32) Among the goods ordered by the firm of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson in 1771 were mustard pots, some with accompanying bone spoons, pepper castors, probably of Queens China, tin pepper boxes, and “common vinegar Crewets” of glass.(33) In 1772, “2 Doz Glass Salts some Cut sorted” and “1 Doz. Glass Salt Linings,” apparently intended to fit inside metal salt cellers to prevent corrosion were part of their glassware order.(34) Among the goods ordered by the same firm for specific customers were “a Sett of double flint Glass castors with silver Tops & Silver Rim for the Stand,” “2 pr handsom silver Salts,” and “A Sett of hansom silver Casters.”(35)

Some individuals chose to order directly from England. George Washington received in 1757 among an invoice of goods “A Neat cruit Stand & Casters” costing 10.5.4 and “2 best cut glass cruits” valued at 5 each.(36) In 1763, Washington received four salts as part of an order of blue and white table china and in 1770, as part of a shipment of creamware, two mustard pots and two pepper boxes.(37) Marylander Charles Carroll, Barrister, as part of a large order of silver placed in 1757 through his London agent, included “A set of silver Castors in a silver stand” and “Two pair of silver Fashionable salts.” All were to be “of the neat Plain Fashion” and were to be ornamented with his engraved coat of arms.(38) In 1767, he requested what were apparently replacement pieces for the items ordered seven years earlier. The invoice of goods to be sent included “4 Little Glasses for Silver Salts that are of a Midling Size” and “2 Small Mustard Glasses for a silver Castor they must not be more than three Inches High.”(39) The next year, he was once again ordering replacement items, requesting that he be sent “4 Mustard Glasses Like the broken one sent.”(40) In 1763, Col. Thomas Jones, Jr. requested from his London agent, Robert Bogle, “1 neat ring & Castors flint Glass with Lignum Vita Frame” and “6 fashionable best Flynt Glass Salts & 6 Silver Shovels with Child's head engraved.” Among the Jones Family papers are receipts, dated 1764, from Abernethy & Levier to Robert Bogle for, “1 cruet stand with five glasses” and “6 cut salts.” An additional receipt from Alexander Johnston to Messrs. Bogle & Scott, dated the same month and year, lists the making of 6 fluted salt ladles, as well as “graveing” them with the family crest.(41)

Forms intended for the table service of condiments--salt, pepper, oil, vinegar, ketchups and sauces--occur in 92% of REI. Among the family inventory group the number is 100 percent.

In looking at condiment-related items in the Gunston Hall Probate Inventory Database, salt forms and cruet/castor(42) forms are the most numerous. In REI, salt forms are present in 84% of households and cruet/castor forms in 86% of households. Among the family inventories, 80% have these forms, with MASON00 failing to list salts and MASON86 having no cruets or castors. Mustard forms are the next most common in REI, occurring in 42% of this group but only 20% of the Family inventories; however, these tabulations reflect only those mustard forms listed separately in inventories. There is no way to tabulate the number of mustard forms which occurred as part of cruet/castor stands with undesignated components. Pepper-related items were the least common condiment item occurring as a separate form in REI. In REI, they were listed in only 28% of households but occur in 40% of the family inventories. Like mustard forms, they are undoubtedly undercounted as most cruet/castor stands included a pepper castor. They might also have been included in listings for silver recorded by weight rather than by individual items.

Cruet / Castor Forms

Cruet/castor stands, that is objects which combined cruets and castors within a single frame, are first found in England in the early years of the 18th century. English silver scholar James Lomax ascribes their development to the French influence on the creation of silver objects related to dining. He speculated that they were intended to be part of the accoutrements of the sideboard, to be passed to diners by servants. As evidence, he cites the early 18th-century housekeeping book of Lady Grisell Baillie which lists pepper, mustard, oil, and vinegar among the items always to be kept stocked on the sideboard.(43)

Whatever their origin, by the second half of the 18th century, cruet/castor forms were part of many well-furnished dining rooms in the Chesapeake (40% REI). Although, not all inventory references give information about material, roughly 86% of the examples listed are described as having some silver component--often the tops of the bottles. If bottle tops were silver, it is probable that the frame or stand was also silver. Among the family inventories, two (40%) have this form. MASON63 owned “1 silver Ring & Castors” valued at the substantial sum of 7.7.6, suggesting perhaps that the castors which were part of the set were entirely of silver rather than simply having silver tops. Some thirty years later, MASON97 owned “one sett glass castors with plated Tops & Stand.”(44)

Many households owned cruets and castors, sometimes as parts of sets, sometimes as separate forms not associated with a stand. Castors, particularly silver ones, were often made three to a set. A large castor commonly held sugar and two smaller ones held either pepper and mustard or two different types of pepper. As early as 1689, Virginian William Fitzhugh ordered “a Sett of Castors that is to say for Mustard, Pepper & Sugar. . . .”(45) Sets of castors without stands occur in only 18% of REI but are present in two (40%) family inventories. MASON 97 had two “setts old castors” and MASON00 owned a set of glass castors. As separate listings, individual cruets are found in 20% REI and individual castors occur in 28% of REI. Among the family inventories there are no individual castors not associated with either stands or as parts of sets. Three family household inventories (60%) listed individual cruet forms. ELBCK65 listed seven glass cruets, MASON63 listed two and MASON97 included “1 glass oil Cruet” in addition to the other condiment forms.

Cruet forms are among the condiment forms known to have been purchased by George Mason. In 1766, he bought “3 Cruets Cut & ground” valued at 9 pence each. The following year he added “2 flint Cruits with Spire tops” costing 1 shilling each to his tablewares.(46)


Cruet (individual):   2-3

Origin:   Britain
Date:   1750-1780
Style:   Determined by date
Material:   Glass

NOTE: Future archeology may provide additional information about Mason's ownership of these objects.

Cruet Stand:   1

Origin:   Britain
Date :   1750-1780
Style:   Determined by date
Materials:   Silver stand, glass and silver cruets and castors

NOTE: Future archeology may provide additional information about Mason's ownership of these objects.

Set of Castors:   1

Origin:   Britain
Date:   1750-1780
Style:   Determined by date and material
Material:   Glass, ceramic, metal (not silver)

NOTE: Future archeology may provide additional information about Mason's ownership of these objects.

Mustard Forms

Like all other condiment forms, mustard forms, often called mustard pots, could be owned as individual items as well as being parts of larger sets. In the first part of the 18th-century these probably took the form of castors with tops which were either unpierced or which had an inner cover to close the piercing. By the 1760s, however, English silver forms resembling small tankards, sometimes with pierced silver frames holding a glass inner liner, became readily available.(47) Examples made of various types of ceramics and glass were also produced. Among the family inventories, only one, MASON63, lists a separate mustard form, “a mustard box” among a group of old silver items. This form was no doubt a castor. However, among the few items known to have been purchased by George Mason were three “mustard potts with ground stoppers” costing 8 pence each bought at the Glassford's Piscataway store in August of 1767.(48) The description of ground stoppers identifies the Mason purchases as being made of glass.

Mustard forms were sometimes accompanied by spoons, as is suggested in the listing cited above for bone spoons to accompany mustard pots. However, only two entries for mustard spoons occur in REI and none are found in the family inventories. Therefore, no mustard spoons are recommended.


Mustard Pots:   1-2

Origin:   Britain
Date:   Circa 1767
Style:   Determined by date
Material:   Glass

NOTE: Future archeology may provide additional information about Mason's ownership of these objects.

Nutmeg Grater(49)

Nutmeg has been an important ingredient in western cooking since the middle ages and its use in the 18th-century Chesapeake is well documented. Robert Beverley ordered six ounces of nutmegs together with white and black pepper, cloves, mace, and cinnamon through his English agent in 1763. Such seasonings were apparently purchased on a fairly regular basis, as nutmegs and other spices were part of Beverley's orders in 1769, 1771, 1773, 1786, 1788, and 1792.(50) These small hard “nuts” were usually processed by grating so that powdered nutmeg could be added to food and beverages. Among the tinware goods to be sent to the Maryland merchant firm Wallace, Davidson & Johnson in 1771 were “6 nutmeg Graters, 6 painted do, [and] 6 pocket do.” The following year they ordered “3 doz. Nutmeg graters sorted.”(51)

A letter from Virginian William Lee provides some insight into this intriguing form. He complained about the quality of a previously owned example and requested that he be sent a new one, writing:

. . . Mr. Browne bought for me in London a Silver nutmeg Grater from Mr. Newman in Lombard Street . . . the Grater on bein [sic] opened . . . proved to be so very slite and flemsey that it fell to pieces on unskrewing the cover . . . I was left one at Brussells made in the shape of a Tun which was very good and tho it had been in constant use for twenty three years and cost only a Guineas [sic] . . . I also hope that Mr. Newman will replace the nutmeg Grater and if he does I would wish it be of a round or rather ovel form and as flat as possible to contain a single nutmeg so that it may be conveniently carried in westcoat pocket like a small snuff or patch box. . . .(52)

Nutmeg graters are found in a surprisingly small number of rural elite inventories, appearing in only 14%, with an average of 1.4 and a median of 1. It is possible that since these objects were usually made from tin, that they disappear into tinware items recorded in inventories in groups rather than as individual items. The form was also made in silver, but since silver is very commonly inventoried by weight, the same caveat applies.

Among the family inventories, only one, MASON63, records the form. Her inventory includes a nutmeg grater among the silver forms found in “a pcel [parcel] of old Plate.” George Mason's ownership of a nutmeg grater is implied in John Mason's description of his father's habit of making and drinking toddy before dinner each day. In his recollections, John Mason wrote that the bowl of toddy “was compounded always of West Indian Spirits-loaf Sugar and water-with a little Nutmeg grated on the Top-. . . .(53)


Nutmeg Grater:   1

Origin:   Britain
Date:   1750-1780
Style:   Determined by date and material.
Material:   Silver or tin

Pepper Forms

Some individuals owned additional pepper forms separate from those which were part of castor sets or cruet stands. These pepper casters, sometimes called pepper boxes, could be made of silver, tin, (probably japanned), or other metals like brass.(54) Separate pepper forms are found in 28% of REI with an average of 1.4 and a median of 1.

Among both the REI group and the family inventories, equal numbers of inventories which specify material for pepper forms list silver or tin. It is unclear whether non-silver forms were used at table.

Among the family inventories, two have listings for separate pepper forms. ELBCK65 includes a listing for a small pepper box among a group of tin items that might have been in the kitchen and MASON63 lists a pepper box among a “pcel [parcel] of old Plate.”


Pepper Box:   1

Origin:   Britain
Date:   1750-1780
Style:   Determined by date and material
Material:   Silver or tin

Salt Forms

Salt was the condiment which was most typically brought to the dinner table. It was served in small open dishes which were placed upon the table in multiples of two. Indeed, the symetrical placement of the salt cellars was an important part of the properly set dinner table. Like other elements of the dinner table, symmetry in the placement of salts was considered important to the aesthetics of the dinner table. This usage is underscored by both the average (4) and median (4) numbers for both REI and family inventories.

Among the family inventories, only MASON00 does not have this form. In the four family inventories which do have salts listed, ELBCK65 had glass examples and MASON63, MASON86, and MASON97 all owned silver ones. Among the “mystery” Mason objects referred to in early 20th-century correspondence are “a pair of small salt cellars, with the original blue glass lining.” As the whereabouts of these salt cellars is unknown at this time, it is impossible to know whether they are of the correct date to have been used by George Mason. Certainly, there are period examples which fit the very general description given.


Salts:   4

Origin:   Britain or American
Date:   1750-1788
Style:   Determined by origin and date
Material:   Silver, possibly with glass liners



Cutlery--knives, forks, spoons and their accompanying accouterments--were central to the 18th-century dining experience. Indeed, the presence or absence of these various utensils was one of the key components of the development of the methodology by which the inventory study was developed.(55) Cutlery items might be made of silver, pewter, or lesser metals with knives and forks having handles of silver, ivory, ceramic, bone, horn, or even wood. Barbara Carson, in her book Ambitious Appetites gives a brief overview of the history and development of spoons, knives, and forks during the 17th and 18th centuries.(56) As she so clearly points out, the shape and materials from which implements were made affected not only the way in which they were used but also their spread across the divides of social class. To understand the proper ways of holding and using various types of cutlery and to own sufficient quantities of such tablewares to entertain large numbers of guests were among the hallmarks of elite, genteel behavior in the 18th-century Chesapeake.

Carving Knives and Forks

It was not uncommon to having matching pairs of carving knives and forks to accompany genteel table cutlery. The Charles Carroll letterbook includes a 1775 order for green ivory- handled table knives and forks with matching dessert sizes and “2 neat strong carving knives and forks, Ivory handles.” Some nine years later, there is another order requesting “2 good large carving knives with forks, green handles” with the added instruction “let them have good blades.”(57) George Washington ordered “6 Carving knives and forks--handles of Stain'd Ivory and bound with Silver” among the tablewares he purchased for Mount Vernon shortly after his marriage in 1759.(58) Such items were also sometimes part of the sets stored in knife cases. Virginian William Reynolds, in a 1771 order, wanted spoons and dessert knives and forks sent in “a mahogany Case with room for 1 doz spoons, and a Carving knife and fork.”(59) Rather than carving knives and forks, it was possible, of course, to use a pair of table-size knives and forks. This use is made clear in early 19th-century directions which include among the steps for setting the table the placing of “a dinner knife and fork at each side of the table, opposite the centre, for carving with.”(60)

Carving knives and forks are found in only 16% of REI. This surprisingly low number may reflect actual usage. It also may be the result of varied factors, such as inventory takers failing to distinguish the slightly larger carving items from full-sized table knives and forks or the fact that carving knives and forks were sometimes among the unlisted contents of knife cases. Among the family inventories, two of the five (40%) include specific references to carving knives and forks. Both MASON86 and MASON97 owned a pair. A pair of carvers were also among the cutlery items purchased by George Mason in 1766.(61)


Carving Knife and Fork:   1 pair

Origin:   Britain
Date:   Circa 1766
Style:   Determined by date and material
Material:   Steel tines and blades, non-silver handles

Knife Baskets

Among the paraphernalia used in some Elite households for clearing dirty cutlery from the table were containers typically referred to as knife baskets or trays.(62) In the 18th century, these items seem to have most commonly been made of wicker lined with tin although other materials were sometimes used. FLOOD76 lists two examples of knife trays; one is made of cherry, the other was described as a “Wicker knife Tray tin'd.” Among the goods Robert Beverley ordered when setting up housekeeping at the time of his marriage, included “2 Wicker Knive [sic] Boxes do [Lined with tin.]”(63) Even though Beverley refers to them as “boxes,” based upon the materials, it is probable that he was actually ordering knife baskets or trays. Tin lined knife baskets were also among the items purchased by the Jones family in 1764 and by Archibald Cary in 1771.(64) One dozen “neat knife baskets” were also among the goods shipped to the Glassford and Company store in Piscataway, Maryland, in the early 1770s.(65) In The Honours of the Table, or Rules for Behavior During Meals, a late 18th-century English work, the author instructs the servant clearing the table to “take away the knifes, forks, and spoons, in a knife-tray. . . .”(66) Some forty years later, an American servant's directory gives clear instructions that when the person waiting at table perceived “the signal to remove the first course,” he should take the “knife-tray and remove all the knives, forks, and spoons, from all the dishes, and the ladles from out the sauce-boats” before removing any of the dishes from the table. This process was to be repeated through the following courses of the meal.(67)

Knife baskets and trays occur in only 14% of REI. This small number may be indicative of the failure of large numbers of the elite population to decide that such an item was a necessary component of genteel table service. It is more likely, however, that due to the utilitarian character of these objects and the perishable nature of the material from which they were commonly made, they were simply overlooked by inventory takers or considered to be of so little value as to either not be included or lumped together with parcels of miscellaneous items. None of the family inventories list this form. However, it is clear that George Mason felt that a knife basket would enhance the proper service of meals at Gunston Hall for he purchased a knife basket valued at 16 in 1767.(68)


Knive Basket: 1

Origin:   Britain
Date:   1767-1788
Style/Form:   Specialized Form / Requires Additional Research (SF/RAR)
Material:   Wicker lined with tin

Knife Cases

Often, sets of knives and forks came in special cases which were designed both to store these table utensils safely and to make an impressive display. These case might range in size from those which held only a dozen pairs of table utensils to those which held several dozen knives and forks as well as the accompanying silver tablespoons. George Washington, in a 1762 order for knives, forks, and spoons, wished them to be “properly disposed of in neat mahogany cases for decorating a side board.”(69) Mahogany was not the only fashionable material from which such cases could be made. In 1763, the London agent for the Galloway family of Maryland purchased two dozen pairs of silver handled knives and forks together with the case in which they were to be stored. The case, a particularly elaborate one, was described as “l Large Black fish skin Case . . . with Moulded Front Lined thro with Crimson Velvett.” It was to be decorated with “Plate [silver] Laces & the Brass Work silver'd Over.”(70) The “fish skin” of the Galloway case was also referred to as shagreen in the eighteenth century.

Knife cases or boxes occur in nearly three-quarters of REI (70%). Among the family inventories, they are listed in three of the five (60%), MASON86, MASON97, and MASON00. MASON86 owned two examples, one made of mahogany, the other of shagreen. MASON97 and MASON00 each owned a single mahogany knife box. A knife case also appears in the 1735 inventory of George Mason's father, although there no such listing among his mother's belongings inventoried not quite thirty years later.(71)


Knife Case: 1

Origin:   Britain
Date:   1760-1770
Style:   Determined by date and material
Material:   Mahogany

Knives and Forks

Pairs of knives and forks for each individual diner were essential to the concept of genteel dining in elite homes. Period sources make it clear that these important items of cutlery came with handles in a variety of materials and as well as varying shapes and sizes.

Whatever their handle material, however, all knives and the vast majority of forks came with steel blades and tines.(72) This could result in difficulties in maintaining these important items. Charles Carroll, the Barrister, in 1765, complained to his London agent that a shipment of Knives “were much Rusted as they were not oiled before they were Packed up.” The damaged knives might have been among either the “Stained Ivory Handled” or the silver-handled knives and forks in both table and dessert sizes ordered by Carroll the previous year.(73)

Carroll's was not the only elite Chesapeake household to have knives and forks with different handle materials. In 1761, the Jones family of Virginia ordered both ivory-handled goods as well as “1 doz ditto [knives and forks] of a cheaper [?] bone or buck horn.”(74) Again in 1768, the Jones family ordered both ivory and stag horn knives and forks.(75)

These were not the only materials available. George Washington in 1763 purchased two dozen pair of “neat China handle knives and forks with strong silver Ferrels” valued at a substantial 5 and in 1771, the Piscataway, Maryland store of John Glassford and Co. listed among their inventory knives and forks of various prices, including pairs with redwood handles valued at 9 per dozen.(76) Local stores stocked knives and forks in large numbers.

As the previously quoted Carroll letter illustrates, knives and forks were subject to damage to blades and tines from rust. Poor care also would have caused pitting and undoubtedly led in many cases to the steel parts separating from the handles. Whatever the cause, knives and forks are among the items which recur with some regularity in orders placed by elite households in the 18th century. A search of the Jones Family Papers, the George Washington Financial Papers, the Robert Beverley Letterbook, and the Letters of Charles Carroll, Barrister, show a range for reorders varying from as frequently as three years apart to a maximum of eight years.(77)

Local merchants stocked knives and forks in large numbers and are commonly among the goods Chesapeake merchants advertised for sale. The scheme of goods for the Alexander Henderson store in Colchester, Virginia in 1763 included a total of 30 dozen pairs of knives and forks at four different values.(78) Annapolis merchant Nathaniel Waters listed among the goods just imported from London in 1761 “bone, buck and London Handled Knives and Forks” and fellow Annapolitan Thomas Hodgkin in 1772 listed among his imported London goods “white and green Ivory handle Knives and Forks with and without shagren cases, Ivory Knives and Forks silver mounted, Ebony and Redwood Ditto [knives and forks].”(79) More than twenty years later the Alexandria merchant firm of William Hartshorne and Company offered among their recently imported stock, “white and green ivory handle knives and forks, with carvers to match, [and] buck handle knives and forks.”(80)

Knives and forks appear in 100% of REI. For purposes of this study, based upon known period practice, any listing for a knife case was considered to contain both knives and forks even if the contents were not itemized. Knives and forks were among the components of individualized place settings. Since the ability to entertain large numbers of diners was the key criteria for inclusion in the elite group, it is not surprising that they appear in large numbers in elite inventories.(81) The average number of knives and forks in REI is 60.5 or approximately 2 and a half dozen pairs. The averages would have undoubtedly been higher if it had been possible to determine a count for the numbers of knives and forks contained, in knife cases for which the contents were not itemized. For example, eight knife cases are listed in George Washington's inventory without a separate listing for their contents. However, since knife cases were available in a variety of sizes, no effort was made to estimate the total number of pieces which they might have contained.

Among the family inventories, 100% have knives and forks(82) with the average number of individual pieces being 77.2, or just over three dozen pairs, with a median number of 48 or two dozen pairs.

When knives and forks are listed by handle material in the REI group, ivory is the most common descriptor used. This dominance is increased if one factors in listings for colored-ivory and/or assumes that many if not most of the green-handled examples refer to green-stained ivory. Silver-handled examples are the second most frequently listed material. Solid silver forks are quite rare, appearing in only two of the REI inventories, FAIRFX82 and WORMLY91. It is possible that silver and silver handled examples are somewhat under counted since in some inventories they may have been grouped with silver that was simply listed by weight. In the family inventories, three of the five (60%) list handle material--all three include ivory. In addition, ELBCK65 owns bone-handled examples, MASON97 includes knives and forks with black handles, and MASON00 lists green-handled ones.

Cutlery is one category of item for which there is surviving evidence about George Mason's tastes and preferences. The silver-handled knives and forks discussed in Volume One, Chapter Two of this report, which family history ascribes to George Mason, suggest that Mason's preference for silver extended to the cutlery on his dinner table. If, indeed, Mason's best cutlery was silver handled, his secondary knives and forks may have had a variety of handle materials. Among the items that Mason purchased from the Glassford store in 1766 were a half dozen knives and forks with “red wood” handles and in 1780, the order which arrived from De Neufville & Son contained a dozen “Strong buck horn handled Table” knives and forks.(83) While it is not possible to know whether Mason intended both of these sets for everyday use by his family or perhaps by household servants, it does suggest that he followed the pattern of his neighbors in multiple purchases of knives and forks with a variety of handle types. This hierarchy of tablewares is similar to that seen in Gunston Hall's architectural finishes and other Mason household furnishings.


Dinner Knives and Forks: 2½-3½ dozen pairs / 60-84 pieces

Origin:   Britain
Date:   1750-1788
Style:   Determined by date and material
Material:   12 Silver-handled knives; 12 silver-handled forks; rest mixed red wood, buck horn and ivory

Table Spoons

Large spoons, referred to in the period as table spoons, were an essential element for the serving of the multi-dish courses which were part of elite dinners. Generally placed around the table in symmetrical patterns, there needed to be enough table spoons to allow individual diners to serve the dishes placed closest to them. These spoons, commonly made of silver in elite households, were usually purchased in groups of six or twelve. Such spoons were often included among the contents of knife boxes. In 1757, Charles Carroll, Barrister, ordered a black shagreen case “with a Dozen Table silver Handled Knives and Forks and one Dozen spoons.”(84) Like many other elements of silver, the owner's family crest or monogram was often engraved on the handle of the spoon, serving both as a decoration and a statement of ownership and status.(85) In 1762, George Washington ordered 14 silver table spoons to be engraved with his crest. He added a note that these 14 were “to make up a broken sett, already on hand. . . .”(86)

Surprisingly, spoons intended for the table(87) occur in only 62% of REI. It seems probable that this number under represents REI ownership, as such spoons were an important part of genteel table service. Possibly, such spoons were overlooked by inventory takers in knife cases or were simply included in listings for silver recorded by weight rather than by form. In those inventories where this form is included, the average number is 16.4 and the median is 17. In the family inventories, table spoons occur in four of the five (80%). Only ELBCK65 does not have a listing for “Table” spoons but his inventory does contain 95 ounces of plate which probably included such spoons. In the family inventories where table spoons are enumerated, the average is 15.5 and the median is 20. In all cases, the family spoons are assumed to be of silver, either by designation or by association with other silver objects.

Among the items with family histories are a group of mid-18th-century Scottish silver spoons. While the line of descent on these spoons is not clear, they are of the type which George Mason might well have owned.


Table Spoons: 12-18

Origin:   Britain and/or Chesapeake
Date:   1750-1780
Style:   Determined by date
Material:   Silver



By the latter part of the 18th century, American usage had turned the second course into what today would be referred to as dessert. To be able to set an elegant dessert course was a goal for elite households. The accoutrements of the dessert table were among the most elegant and specialized of the assorted tablewares to be found in elite Chesapeake households. Items of glassware, ceramics, and silver were all part of the pageantry of dessert.

Custard Forms

According to Louise Bleden in The Festive Tradition: Table Decoration and Desserts in America, 1650-1900, custards soft or baked were part of “every American family dessert table.” Belden explains that they were baked and served in several types of dishes, including both individual custard cups, with or without covers, as well as other types of dishes with more general uses.(88) Hanna Glasse in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, perhaps the most ubiquitous English language cook book of the 18th century, included recipes for baked and plain custards, custard pudding, and lemon-, orange-, and almond-flavored custards. Although giving no indication of flavor, Virginian Martha Blodget in serveral diary entries for 1795, listed custards among the desserts she recorded serving.(89)

George Washington ordered a dozen china custard cups through his English agent in 1761.(90) The following year he received a number of pieces of blue and white china including ribbed custard cups.(91) Charles Carroll of Carrollton ordered custard cups at least four times between 1771 and 1784. In 1771 he requested “24 Custard Cupps” of blue and white “thick China of a small size.” In 1773 he wanted an additional 24 blue and white china custard cups, in 1775 he basically repeated the same order, and in 1784 he wanted another 12 blue and white china custard cups.(92)

Inventory takers recognized and designated special custard forms in 38% of REI. The average number of custard forms is 15.3 and the median is 12. Of inventories listing a specific custard form, 79% had custard cups, special small ceramic forms for individual servings. Among those REI entries which include materials, roughly 57% list china, 26% are of cream or earthenware, and 13% are of white salt-glaze stoneware. Custard forms, all cups, occur in three (60%) of the family group. Neither of the two earliest inventories have this form. MASON86 had two dozen custard cups and saucers listed among a large assortment of “Qns China” tablewares. These present something of a puzzle. The inclusion of saucers may have been simply an error on the part of the inventory taker, or they may represent a form not yet sort out by decorative arts scholars. In all three of the family inventories having the form, the custard cups were of either queen's china or green-edged ware. The family average is 19.6 and the median is 23.

Custard cups are among the items which George Mason purchased in 1780 through the De Neufville order. Included in the crate of cream colored ceramics were 24 custard cups in two different sizes. It is probable that these represent replacement items for part of earlier service of Queen's China. It is also likely that Mason may have purchased such forms a number of times throughout the course of his lifetime.


Custard Cups:   12-24

Origin:   Britain and/or China
Date:   1760-1788
Style:   Determined by origin, date, and material
Material:   Porcelain or creamware
NOTE: Future archeology may provide additional information about Mason's ownership of these objects.

Dessert Cutlery(93)

Special dessert cutlery could also be part of the service of this part of the meal. Numerous orders for cutlery include dessert knives and forks as well as those intended for the main dinner courses. While it is not entirely clear what differentiated dessert forms, it is probable that they, like breakfast forms, were smaller in size.(94) Charles Carroll of Carrollton ordered dessert knives and forks to go with “24 pair of neat green Ivory handle Table Knives & forks.”(95) China-handled examples were among the goods ordered by George Washington in 1762. In 1763 he received “2 dozn pr” of china-handle dessert knives and forks with silver ferrels.(96)

The tabulation for dessert cutlery included all examples with the designation “dessert” or, in the case of knives and forks, which were described as “small.” Forms included knives and forks, as well as one example of a ladle and one household with three dessert spoons. Dessert cutlery items of all kinds occurred in a total of only 26% of REI. Knives and forks are listed in 20% of households having the type. The average number of dessert knives and forks in households having the form is 18.2. Among the family inventories, two (40%) MASON97 and MASON00, have the form. Both inventories use the descriptor “small.” MASON97 owned three dozen ivory-handled examples and his brother MASON00 owned a dozen green-handled examples.

Among surviving Mason family items are small-sized examples which match the silver-handled table knives and forks discussed in the section on cutlery. It is probable that these were used for dessert rather than breakfast. The silver handles would have made them more likely to have been used as part of the presentation of dinner, the most important meal of the day. Five pairs of these small-sized knives and forks, plus another five matching forks survive with family histories. These numbers suggest that originally there were at least a dozen pairs of smaller knives and forks.


Dessert Knives and Forks:   1-2 dozen pairs (24-48 items total)
Origin:   Britain
Date:   Circa 1760
Style:   Pistol handled - See surviving examples
Material:   Silver-handled

Fruit Forms

Fresh fruit was an important component of the dessert course.(97) Martha Blodget listed plums, apples, and grapes among the fruit served with meals in her home.(98) It is possible that all of these fruits were grown on her plantation, as the cultivation of fruit was an important part of the horticultural endeavors on farms and plantations throughout 18th-century Virginia and Maryland.(99) Whether grown at home or purchased at local markets, fresh fruit made its appearance as part of the dessert course, either piled in pyramids on plates, dishes, and salvers or elegantly displayed in decorative pairs of fruit baskets.

Such dishes could be purchased in a wide range of ceramic types as well as decorative metal such as painted tin. Fruit baskets, possibly of white salt-glazed stoneware or agate ware, were among the goods imported by Baltimore merchant James Houston in the summer of 1759.(100) The purchase of a green fruit dish, probably meant to match the four green candlesticks bought at the same time, was recorded in the 1760 accounts of Virginian Thomas Jones.(101) Fruit baskets were listed in the 1769 store inventory and oblong fruit dishes were among the goods imported for sale in the Glassford store in Piscataway, Maryland in January 1773.(102) An invoice for “A Chest contg 1 compleat dining sett Queens Ware” shipped to an Alexandria firm in 1780 listed among the contents “12 Sallad & Fruit hollow Dishes” and “2 fruit Baskets.”(103) Six japanned fruit baskets were among the goods ordered by Wallace, Davidson & Johnson in December of 1771.(104)

Specially designated fruit forms--baskets, dishes, plates, and shells--were found in 26% of REI. The stands or underplates which often accompanied fruit baskets or dishes were not counted as separate items. Two (40%) of the family inventories include designated fruit forms. MASON97 owned four baskets and stands as part of his green-edged wares and MASON00 had two queen's china dishes and stands.

There is clear evidence that George Mason, like most of his contemporaries, expended time and energy in raising fruit. John Mason, in his memoir describing his childhood home, remembered that there was “an extensive orchard of fine fruit trees & of a variety of kinds,” and that the landside approach of Gunston Hall was lined with “black-heart” cherry trees.(105) Mason gave grafts of cherry, plum, pears, and apple trees to neighbor George Washington. He also sent peach stones to Thomas Jefferson.(106)

Fruit baskets were among the items George Mason purchased from the Glassford store in Piscataway. They were valued at 19 each but the material from which they were made is not clear from the ledger entry. Furthermore, it is possible that Mason considered the large pedestal silver salver which descended in the family as a fruit dish.(107)


Fruit Forms:   2-4 Baskets or dishes with stands

Origin:   Britain and/or China
Date:   1760-1780
Style:   Determined by origin and date
Material:   Creamware, Chinese export porcelain, or other ceramic

NOTE:Future archeology may provide additional information about Mason's ownership of these objects.

Glasses and Pyramids

Perhaps the most important part of the dessert display was the centerpiece--often a pyramid of pedestaled salvers displaying a variety of small glasses and dishes. Hannah Glasse, of 18th-century cookbook fame, who devoted an entire volume to the confectionery arts intended to grace the dessert course, wrote:

In the middle a high pyramid of one salver above another, the bottom one large, the next smaller, the top one less; these salvers are to be fill'd with all kinds of wet and dry sweet-meats in glass, baskets, or little plates, colour'd jellies, creams, &c. biscuits, crisp'd almonds and little knicknacks, and bottles of flowers prettily intermix'd, the little top slaver must have a large preserv'd Fruit in it.(108)

That such wonderful assemblages were sought after by the Chesapeake elite is evidenced by orders for such goods. In 1759, George Washington received through his English agent Robert Cary the components for a glass pyramid, including three glass salvers, a top piece and four dozen syllabub, sweetmeat, and jelly glasses. Just two years later, Washington received “1 Glass Pyramid w' 8 arms,” probably a sweetmeat pole with arms from which small baskets for sweetmeats were hung.(109) Due to the fragile nature of such items, it is clear that replacements were needed from time to time. In 1760, Washington wrote to Robert Cary that “The Pyramid you sent me last year got hurt, and the broken pieces I return by this opportunity to get new ones made by them--please to order that they be securely Packd -.”(110) It is probable that the four small cut glass Dishes, six glass shells for sweetmeats, and “1 Plain glass salver for a Pyramid Diameter 12 In Height 5 3/4,” purchased by Charles Carroll of Carrollton in 1771 were meant to be replacement items for a pyramid. Twenty years later, when ordering a new pyramid, he wanted “12 surpluss glasses in case the other be part broke.”(111)

It was, of course, possible to purchase the individual components to be used in a variety of combinations. Included among the glassware orders placed in 1771 by the Maryland merchant firm of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson were two large and three small salvers, six large “Top Glasses,” twelve dozen “Common Gelly Glasses,” and six dozen “good Salubub Do.” The following year they ordered four dozen “Jelly Glasses” and three dozen “Whip Silly Bubb Glasses.”(112)

For purposes of this study, all glass salvers were assumed to represent dessert wares and any listing for two or more such salvers was counted as a pyramid. Among REI, 40% have glass salvers. Half of the listing for such items give some indication that they were part of a dessert pyramid. The average number of salvers was 3.3 with a median of 2. Among the family inventories, three (60%) list glass salvers. Two of these, ELBCK65 and MASON97, have multiple examples, presumed to represent parts of a pyramid. In the family, both the average and the median number is 2.

Decorative arts historians and indeed, glass manufacturers in the period, distinguish between various forms of small glasses intended to hold different types of desserts; however, it is not clear that the people ordering these wares or the people recording inventories made the same distinctions. In this study, all dessert glasses of the types which might have been used with a pyramid were tabulated together, including jelly, syllabub, and sweetmeat forms. Such items occur in 42% of all REI, with an average number of 24.2 and a median of 12.5. Both the average and median numbers for dessert glasses are suspect due to the six households where the numbers of glasses are unspecified. Examples of these forms (all using the term jelly glasses) are found in four (80%) of the family inventories. Only MASON86 does not include items in this subcategory. The average number of family examples is 17.2 and the median is 11.5.


Dessert Glasses:   18-24 Origin:   Britain
Date:   1750-1788
Style:   Determined by date
Form: Mixed (jelly, syllabub, etc.)
Material:   Glass

NOTE: Future archeology may provide additional information about Mason's ownership of these objects.

Pyramid of Salvers: 1 (2-3 salvers plus a top glass)

Origin:   Britain
Date:   1750-1788 (possible replacement items of different dates)
Style:   Determined by date
Material:   Glass

NOTE:Future archeology may provide additional information about Mason's ownership of these objects.

Tart Forms

Small tarts with a variety of fillings were among the staples of colonial dessert fare. They could be baked in utilitarian forms made of materials such as tin or coarse earthenware and then turned out onto plates to be served, or they could be cooked in small decorative glass or ceramic pans which were taken to the table. Period cookbooks provide instructions about using these various forms.

If you bake in tin patties butter them, and you must put a little crust all over, because of the taking them out; if in China or glass, no crust but the top one; lay fine sugar in the bottom, then your plums, cherries, or any other sort of fruit and sugar at the top; then put on your [pastry] lid and bake them in a slack oven.(113)

Tarts could be filled with fresh fruit or with preserved sweetmeats. Indeed, for the latter type of filling, the same author suggests baking a crust separately which could then be placed on the finished tart so that “if the tart is not eat, your sweetmeat is not the worse, and it looks genteel.”(114)

The specialized pans, referred to in the period as tart pans, patty pans, patties, or pie molds, were among the stock bought and sold by regional merchants. They were also among the household goods ordered by individuals. The order book of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson for the years 1771-1774 includes orders for patty pans made of china and for “1 doz. small tin Patty panns for Tarts & hallon [hallow?] moalds to shape the upper crusts on & marking Irons to mark them.”(115) Included among the goods shipped by Norfolk based British merchant John Norton in 1768 were “3 dozen white Tart Moulds @ 15 a dozen” and 1771 another customer ordered “1 doz very small China Tart Pans.(116)

These small baking dishes occur in 60% of REI with an average of 13.3 and a median of 12. Of those examples which cite a material, the majority are ceramic (china, stone, earthen) with china being the most common. Of the fifteen inventories which list a material, china occurs in 40%, followed by equal percentages (20%) of glass and tin.

Among the family inventories, four (80%) have some type of tart form. ELBCK65 owned 22 small patty pans which were probably of tin. MASON63 owned only one patty pan, perhaps of pewter. MASON97 owned 60 examples, 12 blue and white and 48 green-edged. MASON00's inventory includes 16 examples in two different sizes among what appear to be the kitchen furnishings. The average number in family inventories is 24.7 with a median of 19.

Tart forms were part of George Mason's 1780 order of ceramics from the De Neufville firm. Included among the cream colored ceramics were 36 tart molds in five graduated sizes. There were 12 of the smallest size and 6 each of four progressively larger sizes.


Tart Forms: 36 tart molds in graduated sizes

Origin:   Britain and/or China
Date:   1750-1780
Style:   Determined by origin and date
Material:   Creamware and/or Chinese export porcelain

NOTE: Future archeology may provide additional information about Mason's ownership of these objects.



Certainly the most numerous components of elite table service were the plates and dishes. The ability to offer dinner to a large number of family, friends and guests was one of the markers of a genteel elite household. Not only was it necessary to have multiple plates for each diner, but the array of foodstuffs served demanded a large number of serving pieces, often in specialized sizes and forms. A period description by one British observer of what he considered a typical American meal provides insight into just why so many pieces were needed:

Their tables at dinner are crowded with a profusion of meat: And the same kind is dressed three or four different ways. The rivers afford them fish in great Abundance: and their Swamps and forests furnish them ducks teale blue-wing, hares, Squirrells, partridges and a great variety of other kinds of fowl. Eating seems to be the predominant passion of a Virginian. To dine upon a single dish is considered as one of the greatest hardships. you can be contended with one joint of meat is a reproach frequently thrown into the teeth of an Englishman.(117)

Not cited in the above account were the accompanying vegetable dishes, relishes, and sauces which rounded out a course at dinner.

Descriptions of two dinners eaten by visitors at Mt. Vernon in the 1790s give an even better idea of the number and variety of dishes which graced elite Virginia dinner tables. In 1797, Amariah Frost, who dined with the Washingtons in June, recorded in his diary that “The dinner was very good--a small roast pigg, boiled leg of lamb, beef, peas, lettice, cucumbers, articokes, etc., puddings, tarts, etc.”(118) A similar meal was described in even more detail by Joshua Brooks two years later. He noted that for dinner on February 4, 1799, the first course included a boiled leg of pork, goose, roast beef, cold boiled beef, mutton chops, hommony, cabbage, potatoes, pickles, fried tripe, and “onions, etc.”(119)

What is missing from all of these descriptions is the mention of soup. Most, if not all, 18th-century cookbooks which provide menu suggestions include soup as an important component of the first course of dinner. Hannah Glasse in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, incorporated an entire chapter on soup and broth. Listed among the recipes were instructions for four types of pea soup, chestnut soup, beef, partridge, ox-cheek, and hare soup. Indeed, foodways historians have typically postulated the ubiquitousness of soup as part of the first course of dinners on both sides of the Atlantic. However, the statistical analysis of soup equipage in the REI group of the Gunston Hall Probate Inventory Database raises some interesting questions. No type of soup equipage is found in more than 60% of REI. The implication of these numbers is reinforced by a French commissary officer a the end of the American Revolution who noted about Americans that “They do not eat soup.”(120) While this observation is surely a bit sweeping, it does raise interesting questions which also resinate in Martha Blodget's descriptions oof dinners served at her home in late 18th-century Virginia. Of the seven detailed menus recorded in the published fragments of her diary, only two list soup among the foods served.(121)

Whatever the specifics of the menu, large numbers of plates and serving dishes were required for an appropriate presentation. Robert Beverley expected his London agent to understand what would comprise adequate amounts of table china when he wrote:

. . .I have some Thoughts of changing my Situation in Life, & I believe before you receive this I shall become a married Man. . . .This obliges me to send an Invoice for some goods. . . . [including] a compleat set of China, the dishes to be oval, the whole to be sufficient for 2 genteel Courses of Victuals. . . .(122)

Given the abundance of foods which weighed down the table, it is not surprising that some period orders for table china are more detailed as to the number, sizes and variety of items wanted. Marylander Charles Carroll included a lengthy description in his December 1772 order for both dinner and dessert ware. He wanted:

A complete Table service of the best strongest blue & white china
consisting of the following particulars
26 Dishes, all of them of an Oblong form thus [followed by a drawing of an 8 sided oblong dish] 2 of them to be of the largest size fit to use at each end of a long Table.
The remainder to be composed of 6 different degrees 4 to each degree.
2 Tureens with Dishes & Covers
2 Doz. 1/2 of soup Plates
6 Doz. Shallow Plates
2 Doz small desert do.
18 deep desert do
2 very small Tureens with Dishes, Covers & spoons proper for Creams
The whole of the above Service to Correspond, the dishes must be of the thickest sort--that can be purchased--The plates also thick.(123)

Just three years later, he again ordered tablewares, this time requesting that he be sent:

A Service of Queens China
packed by itself consisting of
24 dishes--2 of the largest 4 of the smallest size the rest in degrees
2 tureens covers & dishes
24 soup plates
36 small desert do
4 sauceboats
4 fruit dishes
4 fruit baskets
4 small dishes for Pickles
This service to be bot of the newest Pattern but noways decorated so as to harbour dirt. The last articles may admit of ornament without that inconvenience.(124)

Clearly, Carroll was not the only member of Chesapeake society needing an extensive set of tableware. The Alexandria firm of Hooe, Stone and Company in the early 1780s receive as part of an order:

A Chest contg 1 compleat dining sett Queens Ware vizt
4 Oval Dishes
8 smaller do
12 do do
12 do do
10 dozn. flat Plates
4 dozn Soup Plates
2 Fish Dishes & Strainers
2 Sallad Bowls
2 flat Butter Saucers
tard Potts
per Boxes
4 Salts
12 Sallad & fruit hollow Dishes
2 Cream bowls
2 fruit Basketts
2 Sauce Dishes (125)

Interestingly, though containing soup plates, this last shipment did not contain a soup tureen. It is likely that the intended recipient already owned such a piece, in either cream ware or some other type of ceramic or perhaps in silver or pewter. While there was a desire on the part of elite households to have matching tablewares, matching was a somewhat relative term by 20th-century standards. George Washington, for example, ordered blue and white china at least nine times during the course of his life at Mount Vernon. Presumably these continuing orders were to replace broken wares and the table at Mt. Vernon was set with “matching” blue and white china in several different patterns.(126)

There is also the likelihood that metal tablewares, of pewter and silver, were considered appropriate to be used concurrently with ceramic plates and dishes.(127) The Jones Family Papers clearly show a pattern of purchasing and using both pewter and ceramic tablewares throughout the third quarter of the 18th century. For example, in 1760 they purchased pewter dishes of three different sizes, a dozen shallow plates, a dozen soup plates and “1 Tureen to hold three quarts.” Additional instructions about the order were that “the Pewter [was] to be all the best sort and to have a Childs Head ingraved on it for a Crest.” In 1769, two “large fashionable China Butter Boats” were among the goods ordered from London. Both “Queens China” and pewter plates were among the household goods sold as part of the estate sale of Col. Thomas Jones, Jr.(128) In an order dated May 23, 1757, Charles Carroll, Barrister, ordered a range of tablewares including:

Four Dozen Burnt China Plates
Two Doz. Ditto sl soop Plates
one Doz. Dishes of Different sizes
two Pickle Boats
- same sort
Half a Doz: China Blue and white Deep Dishes of Different sizes . . .
Two Dozen best hard mettle Dining Plates
one Dozen soop Ditto
Half a Dozen Dishes
one Toreen [sic] or Soop Dish
. . .
Two silver Butter Boats
. . .
Two pair of silver Fashionable salts . . .(129)

Dishes, Plates, Soup Plates
Dishes are listed in 96% of REI. Undoubtedly, the two inventories in which there are no listings for this form reflect some type of anomaly in the inventory taking process, since no elite household could function without dishes. Indeed, CHPMN61 lists a parcel of china and glassware and HRRSN91 includes a parcel of glass as well as broken table china and queens china in the “bowfett.” The average number of dishes in REI is 30.2 and the median is 28.5.
All five of the family inventories contain listings for dishes. The family average is 26.6 and the median is 24. MASON63 with 17 owned the fewest examples with MASON97's 37 examples being the greatest number in a family inventory. Dish forms were among the goods shipped to George Mason by John De Neufville & Son in 1780. Included among the contents of a crate of what was apparently cream-colored “Earthen Ware” were twelve oval dishes in four graduated sizes. In addition, they also sent six oval pewter dishes, probably in three different sizes.(130)


Dishes:* 24-32

Origin:   Britain and/or China
Date:   1750-1788
Style:   Determined by origin, date, and material
Material:   Approximately 1/3 pewter; Approximately 2/3 mixed ceramic

NOTE: Future archeology may provide additional information about Mason's ownership of these objects.
* May be part of sets in combination with loose pieces which survived from earlier sets or purchases.

Plates, generally bought in multiples of a dozen, were sometimes described as “flat” or “shallow plates” to distinguish them from soup or “deep plates.” This type of plate occurs in 96% of REI. The average number of plates in REI is 89.7 and the median is 81. The same two inventories which list no dishes are also the ones with no specified plates, reinforcing the idea that the absence is a result of the way in which the inventories were taken. In the family inventories, the percentage of plate ownership is 100% with an average of 91.8 and a median of 81.

George Mason purchased a dozen each cream-colored flat plates and pewter shallow plates from De Neufville in 1780. These small numbers were undoubtedly intended as fill-ins for sets already owned.


Plates* 80-92

Origin:   Britain and/or China
Date:   1750-1788
Style:   Determined by date and material
Material:   Pewter 20%; China 10-30%; Creamware 25-60%; Other ceramics 5-10%

NOTE: Future archeology may provide additional information about Mason's ownership of these objects.
* May be part of sets in combination with loose pieces which survived from earlier sets or purchases.

It is not entirely clear that “soup” and “deep” plates are synonymous, as 11% of REI have listings for both types. However, it seems likely that in some inventories and in some households, the two terms must have been interchangeable. If not, then soup plates appear in only half as many households as those having soup spoons or ladles and only slightly more than one third of those having tureens. If not from deep plates, in what sort of dishes were these households serving soup? Tabulated together soup or deep plates are found in 54% of REI with an average of 19 and a median of 18.

Three (60%) of the family inventories have listings for deep plates and MASON97 also lists soup plates. In fact, the percentage may have been 100% as both ELBCK65 and MASON00 have listings which could easily contain this type of plate. Among the three family inventories which list this form, the average is 31.3 and the median is 22.


Soup/Deep Plates 20-22

Origin:   Britain and/or China
Date:   1750-1788
Style:   Determined by origin, date, and material
Material:   Pewter, creamware, Chinese export porcelain, white saltglaze


Chafing Dishes
A late 17th-century source gives a clear description of chafing dishes and their use in food service.
A CHAFFEING DISH is a kind of a round [pan], made hollow like a Bason, set on feet, . . .with an handle to move it from place to place; its office is to hold hot coales of fire in, and to set dish-meates theron, to keep them warme till the time of serving them up to the table, or to heate a cold dish of meate, on the table.(131)

While the most elegant of chafing dishes might well have been made of silver, the examples used on the tables of the Chesapeake elite would more likely have been of copper or brass. These certainly were the types imported into Virginia by John Norton & Sons in the 1770s. In 1772 both brass and copper examples were shipped to Northampton County merchant Littleton Savage. The usage for this form was underscored in a 1773 listing for “3 Brass Table Chaffin Dishes.”(132) The same year, Robert Beverley ordered “6 neat brass Chafing Dishes for the table.” Three years later, he was again ordering chafing dishes, this time four “neat brass” and “1 very large Iron Chafing Dish for a Kitchen.” Some two decades later, he requested that he be sent “fine neat brass chafing dishes or any other inventions wh may have taken place.”(133)

Chaffing dishes were listed in 80% of REI households with an average number of 3.7 and a median of 3. The family inventories show the same percentage, with only Mason00 not listing the form. These forms were also among the documented items purchased by George Mason at the Piscataway store of John Glassford. In 1766, Mason purchased “2 iron chaffing dishes @ 16,” probably intended for kitchen use and “2 brass chaffing dishes” for 28, no doubt meant for his dinner or side table.(134)


Chafing Dishes: 4

Origin:   Britain
Date:   Circa 1766
Style:   Determined by Material
Material:   2 Brass, 2 iron

Plate Warmers
One of the perils of the elaborate dinner rituals of the18th-century was that food rarely made it to the dinner table hot. It was probably not even expected; however, a few homeowners did make an attempt to mitigate the effects of distant kitchens, elaborate service rituals, and drafty rooms by warming dinner plates and dishes before they were put on the table. This could be done in wealthy households by placing them into a plate warmer which was positioned on the hearth in front of the fire.

Plate warmers could be of two forms. One type made of tin sheet metal, usually painted, had an open back placed toward the fire. This was no doubt the type intended in the 1771 order placed by John Norton for “A fashionable large Japanned plate warmer” and in the 1773 Wallace, Davidson & Johnson order which requested “3 genteel neatly Jappaned & painted Plate warmers.”(135) A second form consisted of a cage of metal uprights with open sides into which the plates could be stacked. This apparatus was usually made to turn so that all sides of the plates could be warmed. Wallace, Davidson & Johnson wanted just such an example in 1771 when they ordered “1 brass plate warmer to turn on a Swivell.”(136)

Just over half, 58%, of the REI group included plate warmers, with both and average and median of one. Ownership within the family group (60%) is roughly equal to that in the larger population. All three family examples seem to have been the type with three enclosed metal sides, rather than than the form with open sides. ELBCK65 had an iron example and both MASON97 and MASON00 had plate warmers described as japanned.


Plate Warmer: 1
Origin:   Britain
Date:   1750-1780
Style:   Determined by date
Form: Enclosed sides and top
Material:   Japanned tin


As was apparent in the orders quoted in the section above, a wide number of specialized forms could be added to the basic table service. Josiah Wedgwood's 1774 catalog describing “the different Articles of Queen's Ware” considered pickle dishes as well as soup and sauce tureens to be typical parts of a “middling size” service. However, the catalog was quick to note “Any of these Articles may be left out, or changed as is most agreeable.” It then listed thirty different options which could be substituted, including variant pickle forms such as stands, egg cups, and pudding cups of various sizes.(137)

Period terminology and word usage can cause problems when least expected. The term “bowl” is one of those places where 18th-century and modern meanings collide. To the modern reader, a bowl is first and foremost associated with food service--a form for serving vegetables or anything too runny to be put on a platter. The issue is much more complicated when one considers 18th-century usage. All too often inventory takers fail to include any type of descriptive adjectives that might offer clues to how the bowl was used. Bowls could be part of tea wares, be used to serve punch for one person or many, or be a specialized form for serving salads or various dessert items. For purposes of this study, bowls which were described by size or capacity as well as those described as punch bowls were considered as part of Beverage-Alcohol. Likewise, those with clear connections to the service of tea were listed under Beverage-Tea. Even after these bowls were removed from the mix, there were a substantial number of mystery bowls. These are the ones dealt with here.

Such bowls are found in 80% of REI with an average of 6 per HHT. One hundred percent of the family inventories have these items. The family average is 4.6 and the median is 4. Roughly 65% of the family examples are described as china. Also listed in the family inventories are bowls of queen's china, delft, and glass. Among the few references to purchases of household goods made by George Mason are a china bowl bought in 1760 and several bowls among the goods he desired to purchased in 1786. It is possible that the bowls in the latter order, at least, were intended to be punch bowls. The letter which accompanied the order stated that there were “no sized bowls” available, implying that Mason had requested a set of graduated punch bowls.(138)


Bowls:   4

Origin:   Britain and/or China
Date:   1750-1788
Style:   Determined by origin, date, and material
Material:   China, creamware, or glass


Among the specialized forms which graced many elite tables were soup tureens. Although the issue of soup as a component of dinners among the rural elite of the late 18th-century Chesapeake is a complex one, many individuals apparently considered soup a necessary element in the first course of dinner.(139)

That not all members of the Chesapeake gentry followed fashion's dictates is suggested by the fact that soup tureens(140) are not found in all elite inventories. While some tureens surely went uncounted as part of items grouped together as “ware” or listed by weight such as pewter, the percentage of ownership in REI is only 60% which seems surprisingly low. Among those households having these forms, the average is 2.3 and the median is one.

Family ownership echoes that of the larger group with three (60%) having the form. Neither ELBCK65 nor MASON63 have the form. ELBCK65 includes no items directly attributable to soup service. However, his inventory does include silver recorded by weight which could include a ladle and a set of black and white china which might have contained a tureen as well as soup plates. MASON63, on the other hand, includes both a silver soup spoon and 10 deep plates, suggesting that she had probably once owned such a tureen.(141) Its absence from the inventory might reflect either an overshight by the inventory taker or a broken piece not replaced. In those family inventories listing the form, the average is 2.3 and the median is one.


Tureen:    1-2

Origin:   Britain and/or China
Date:   1750-1788
Style:   Determined by origin, date, and material
Material:   Creamware, Chinese export porclain, salt-glaze, or pewter


Servers, Salvers, Trays (Not Tea) or Waiters

This is yet another of those subcategories where there is confusion in period terminology. Clearly some individuals and some merchants differentiated between various types of serving forms; however, it is also clear that period usage of these terms was somewhat fluid and that they were often used interchangeably. For purposes of this study, any serving form modified with the word “tea” was discussed under Beverage-Tea and all glass salvers were considered as part of Food Service-Dessert.

The forms covered in this section were closely tied to the serving of food and alcohol. Made of a variety of materials, ranging from silver to mahogany to japanned tin, they varied in size from those small enough to hold only one or two wine glasses to those large enough to bring or remove substantial amounts of wares to or from the dinner table. Since proper service was an important part of the genteel presentation of a meal, they were an important accessory.

In tabulating the statistics for this report, all of the following forms were counted: servers, slavers, waiters, handboards, dish stands, trays, and voiders. Ninety percent of REI had one or more of these forms with an average of 3.9. In those examples where materials are cited, japanned examples are the most common, followed by silver and then mahogany.

All five (100%) of the family inventories have these forms. The family average is 3 and the median is 3. Those family examples which cite materials are evenly divided between silver, japanned, and wooden examples.

Among surviving family objects found in the Gunston Hall Plantation collection is a large pedestal silver salver made by English silversmith Hugh Roberts in 1699 which was already considered a family heirloom in George Mason's day. A second small silver tripod-footed salver dating to the interpretative period with a family history is also in the museum collection. In addition to these two pieces, Sarah Brent, George Mason's second wife may well have brought to her marriage a silver salver which had belonged to her grandmother.


Servers: 4-5

Origin:   Britain
Date:   1699-1780
Style:   Determined by date and material
Material:   3 Silver, 1 mahogany, 1 japanned

Specialized Forms:

Bread Baskets
Benjamin Latrobe, recently arrived from Britain, in a March 1796 letter to his brother noted his observations about dining in Norfolk, Virginia. He wrote that “Hoecake is the Meal of Maize or Indian corn, neaded [sic] into dough and baked or toasted before the fire upon a hoe till it is brown. Johnny cake is the same composition baked upon a piece of board. Both these come warm to table in the bread basket.”(142)

In 1764, among the goods sent from Britain for the Jones family was “1 Fashionable bread basket” costing 1 shilling 8 pence.(143) Japanned bread baskets were among the goods ordered by Maryland merchants Wallace, Davidson & Johnson in October of 1771 and listed among the jappaned ware advertised for sale by Alexandria merchants William Hartshorne and Company in 1784.(144) Bread baskets made from wicker were among the “List of Sundries to be shipped from London by Messr. John Norton & Sons on the proper Acct. & Risque of Robt. Hart” in the spring of 1771. The following year they were requested to send a half dozen “Chip bread Baskets” for the same Virginia Merchant.(145) There were also ceramic examples, such as the round and oval bread baskets listed in the 1774 Wedgwood catalog among the various items which could be added to a dinner service.(146)

In REI, the form appears in 38% of households with an average of 1.5 and a median of one. In the family group, bread baskets are found in 60% with an average of 3.3 and a median of 4. Only two of the family inventories cite materials--ELBCK65 lists four “stick” examples and MASON97 included bread baskets described as “chip.” All of those in the family having the form had multiple examples. Bread baskets were also among the goods which George Mason purchased across the river at the Piscataway store of John Glassford and Company. The ledger entry is for two bread baskets valued at 1one shilling each.(147)


Bread Baskets:   2-4

Origin:   Britain
Date:   1750-1780
Style:   Determined by date and material
Material:   Wood, wicker, or japanned tin

Butter or Sauce Boats(148)

Most entrees on the 18th-century dinner table were accompanied by some type of sauce, often served in separate butter boats. As the name for the serving form suggests, many of the sauces were based on melted butter. These forms were also known during the period as sauce boats and tureens. Wedgwood considered four to be an appropriate number for a “middling size” set of Queen's ware “common table service.”(149)

In the REI group, serving forms for sauces occur in 60% of the households with an average of 4.5 examples per HHT. This percentage is matched in the family group. Butter boats or tureens were owned by MASON86, MASON97, and MASON00. In actual fact, family ownership may have been 80%. Evidence of ELBCK65's ownership of such forms is evident in the silver sauce boat marked with the initials of William and Sarah and Eilbeck which descended through the line of George Mason's son William. The family average is 3.6 and a median of 3.

George Mason's ownership of forms for liquid sauces is found in the 1780 order received from De Neufville. Included among the cream-colored ceramics were four “butter pourers.” It is also possible that the Eilbeck silver sauce boat was used at Gunston Hall, as William appears not to have moved to his grandparents' home until after his father's death. Also among the family items in the Gunston Hall collection is an English sauce boat by William Skeen which dates from 1782/3. It is decorated with the Mason family crest and may well have belonged to George Mason IV.


Butter or Sauce Boats: 4-6

Origin:   Britain
Date: 1750-1788
Style:   Determined by date and Material
Materials: 2 Silver, 2-4 ceramic

Egg Forms

Egg forms, while not part of every set of tableware, were among the extra items offered by Wedgwood in 1774. Not only did he market egg cups, with or without covers, but he also sold egg baskets “to keep boiled Eggs hot in water” and “egg spoons,” presumably to avoid the reaction of the eggs with metal spoons. While there is no indication that any of the households in REI owned egg cup covers, egg baskets, or ceramic egg spoons, egg cups did grace the breakfast tables of a few (12%) REI households, with an average in HHT of 6.3 and a median of 6.

Ownership of “egg stands” in two (40%) of the family inventories, puts the family statistics well ahead of the larger group. MASON97 owned 23 green-edged examples and MASON00 owned ten in queen's china.


Egg Cups: 6-12

Origin:   Britain
Date:   1750-1788
Style:   Determined by date and material
Material:   Creamware or other ceramics

Pickle Forms

Pickles were an ubiquitous part of 18th-century cuisine. In The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse devoted an entire chapter to pickling. Included among the recipes were three ways to pickle walnuts, two each for gerkins, mushrooms, artichokes, onions, cabbage, and apples as well as one each for asparagus, peaches, radishes, French beans, cauliflowers, beets, plums, grapes, barberries, and nastersium buds. More exotic relishes could be had by pickling elder shoots in imitation of bamboo or making melon mangoes or “Indian” pickles.(150) Six scalloped pickle shells and six “small Oval Open work pickle stands” were among the ceramic goods ordered by Wallace, Davidson & Johnson in 1771. That same year, as part of a separate order, they also sent for “1/2 doz. Small ovel Pickle Plates” of “Queens China.”(151)

There were almost as many different types of pickle dishes as there were pickles. Among the REI group, pickle forms are listed as leaves, stands, plates, and cups. All were tabulated together for statistical purposes. Suprisingly, given the prevalence of pickles in period menus, specifically designated pickle forms are listed in only 28% of REI with an average of 2.9. It is likely that on many dinner tables, pickles were simply placed on small plates. In the family inventories, two (40%), MASON97 and MASON00, have these forms, with an average of 4.5.


Pickle Forms:   2-4

Origin:   Britain and/or China
Date:   1750-Style:   Style: Determined by origin and date
Materials: Creamware or Chinese export porcelain


It is not clear what form is described by the period term “porringer.” American silver scholars use the term to describe a flat bowl with one projecting flat handle. However, the term is sometimes used in English sources to describe two handled cups, sometimes also called caudle cups.(152)

Whatever their shape, porringers were not a form which had widespread ownership in the Chesapeake. They occur in only 26% of REI with average of 3.1 and a median of 1. In the family inventories, only MASON63 includes the form, owning two silver examples. However, in his will as part of a bequest of silver, George Brent left his daughter Sarah, George Mason's second wife, “. . . two Porringers, which were her Grand Mothers. . . .” It seems likely that these items of silver would have come with Sarah to Gunston Hall.


Porringers:   2

Origin:   Britain and/or America
Date:   First half of 18th century??
Style:   Determined by
Material:   Silver

Pudding Dish

Puddings were part of the main course until late in the 18th-century. Belden, in The Festive Tradition, describes two types of puddings whose preparation and service required dishes to prepare and serve. The first was a boiled pudding which could be prepared in “a bowl covered with a cloth.” The second was for puddings baked in a dish, with or without a crust.(153)

Like custards, baked puddings could be made in a variety of types of dishes, but manufacturers did produce forms specifically intended for puddings. The 1774 Wedgwood catalog included “Pudding Cups, oval and round, of different sizes.”(154)

Pudding dishes were among the specialized forms sometimes imported for American consumers. Two “China pudding Dishes one a siz [sic] large [sic] than the other” were included in the invoice of goods requested by Peter Lyons in 1768.(155) A special order placed in 1771 through the Maryland firm of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson included a “china pudding Pan with a Tin of the same size.” As part of their general tinware order in the same year, they wanted twelve “very small pudding Panns” and twelve “larger ditto.”(156) Charles Carroll of Carrollton, as part of an order for ceramics placed in the fall of 1771, was to be sent “2 Blue & white China baking pudding dishes, not too deep of different sizes.”(157)

Inventory takers recorded what they recognized as pudding dishes in 14% of REI. Among households having the form, the average was 5 and the median 2. In the family inventories, two (40%) list the form. MASON86 had three queen's china examples and there were four among MASON97's green-edged ware. Six “pudding pans” were among the cream- colored ceramics which George Mason received in the 1780 De Neufville order.


Pudding Dishes:   4-6

Origin:   Britain and/or China
Date:   1750-1788
Style:   Determined by origin, date, and material
Material:   Creamware, Chinese export porcelain, or other ceramic

Serving Utensils:

Marrow Spoons

Marrow spoons were long, narrow spoons intended for scooping out bone marrow which was considered a delicacy in the 18th century. Of the twenty-one examples found in the entire Gunston Hall Probate Inventory Database, nineteen are made from silver with no material listed for the other two examples. The form appears in only 14% of REI with both a average and median of one. Among the family inventories, the percentage of ownership, at 60%, is much higher. Neither ELBCK65 nor MASON97 list the form, although with ELBCK65, one must consider the possibility that a marrow spoon may have been part of the 95 ounces of plate listed in the inventory.


Marrow Spoon:   1

Origin:   Britain
Date:   1750-1780
Style:   Determined by date
Material:   Silver

Soup Ladle/Spoon(158)

Large ladles, also called soup “spoons,” were part of the serving utensils found in many elite homes. Given the prescribed importance of soup in the meal, however, these utensils occur in a surprisingly small percentage of the sample. Only 46% of REI included soup ladles or spoons. Even if one assumes a percentage of error caused by inventory taker oversight or by the inclusion of such forms among metalwares recorded by weight or rare ceramic examples lumped together under “ware,” this number still seems low. Among HHT, the average and the median are both one.

In the family inventories, three (60%) of the households record this form. Both MASON63 and ELBCK65 fail to list a special utensil for serving soup; however, MASON63 bequeathed a soup spoon to her son Thomson Mason. It is also possible that ELBCK65 owned such a piece among the 95 ounces of plate recorded in his inventory. All family examples were made of silver.(159)


Soup Ladle:   1
Origin:   Britain or America
Date:   1750-1780
Style:   Determined by origin and date
Material:   Silver



Plate Baskets

Plate baskets, used for bringing plates to the table, for removing dirty ones, and perhaps sometimes for plate storage, were among the items occurring in period orders and merchant accounts. Robert Beverley ordered “2 Wicker Plate Baskets lined with Tin and 4 China Plate Baskets wicker.”(160) Marylander, Charles Carroll included “1 large basket lined with tin for china plates” among the items that he wanted sent from England.(161) Included with the goods purchased by the Jones family through their English agent was “1 Plate Basket for holding [fowl] Plates to be lined with Tin.”(162) Plate baskets were listed with the goods ordered by the firm of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, who in two 1771 invoices, ordered two and a half dozen, some lined with tin, some not.(163)

Plate baskets occur in 34% of REI. HHT had an average of 1.5 and a median of 1. In the family inventories, three (60%) had this form--ELBCK65 and MASON63 owned one example each, and MASON97 who owned two.


Plate Basket:   1

Origin:   Britain
Date:   1750-1780
Style:   Specialized form / requires additional research
Material:   Wicker lined with tin

1. The Gunston Hall Probate Inventory Database contains 56,543 entries in Beverage, but only 26,690 if Beverage-General-Bottles is subtracted. Food Service entries number 54,983.

2. Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 37 (September 1868), 434, quoted in Barbara Carson, Ambitious Appetites: Dining, Behaviour, and Patterns of Consumption in Federal Washington (Washington, DC: The American Institute of Architects Press, 1990), 25.

3. Carl Bridenbaugh, ed., Gentleman's Progress: The Itenerarium of Dr. Alexander Hamilton, 1744 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1948), 8.

4. Ralph Wormely to his son Master Warner Lewis Wormely, 8 September 1803, Mss1 W8945a 1-14, Ralph Wormely Papers, Virginia Historical Society.

5. The laws of etiquette; or, Short rules and reflections for conduct in society. By a gentleman (Philadelphia: Carey, Lead, and Blanchard, 1839), 139, quoted in Carson, Ambitious Appetites , 117.

6. 7 February 1795, “Excerpts from the Diary Kept by Mrs. Martha Blodgett” in Marion Tingling, “Cawson's Virginia in 1795-96,” William & Mary Quarterly, 3 (April 1946), 283.

7. Advertisement of William Roberts, Maryland Gazette, 4 August .

17638. Advertisement of Balfour & Barr, Virginia Gazette, 25 July 1766.

9. See Order-China, Wallace Davidson & Johnson Order Book 1771-1774, Chancery Papers Exhibits 1773-1776, MSA no. 528-27, Maryland State Archives, 5; Order-Earthenware, [1771], ibid., 14-15; Order-Glass & Earthenware, 25 April 1771, 27.

10. See Invoice of Goods . . . for Messrs. Jerdone & Holt, 15 May 1771, folder 39, PH-23, John Norton & Sons, Account & Letter Books, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; Invoice of Sundry Merchandizes . . . [for] John Wilkins, 21 July 1771, folder 66, ibid.; Invoice of Goods . . . [for] Littleton Savage, 4 Sept. 1772, folder 74, ibid.; Invoice of Sundry Merchandizes . . . [for] John Wilkins & Co., 1773, folder 100, ibid.; and Invoice of Goods . . . [for] Samuel & Henry Dixon, 2 Jan. 1773, folder 102, ibid.

11. A period term for a soup ladle. All references taken from Ramsay and Dixon Account Book, 1753-1757, see particularly, 20 Nov., 1753 Dr. Daniel Wilson, 13 Aug. 1753 Mr. William Dulin, and 17 August 1753 Dr. William Simpson, Lloyd House (Local History), Alexandria Public Library, Alexandria, VA, (microfilm, Reel 1, Box 00067)

12. Account of Wm. Harding with Thos. Simpson, 14 September 1758, Container 10, Papers of the Jones Family Northumberland County, Virginia, 1749-1810, Roger Jones Family Papers, 1649-1896, MssD., Library of Congress, no. 2866. (hereafter LC).

13. Inventory of Thomas Hewitt, Prince George's County, Maryland, February 9, 1787, ST 2i, Inventories 1781-1787, fol. 412, 419, 422. (HEWITT87).

14. Inventory of William Sydebothom, Prince George's County, Maryland, June 6, 1795, 1795-1796, fol. 22, 23.

15. To Mr. Richd. Washington, January 1758, Series 5, Accounts & Financial Records of Mt. Vernon, Financial Papers, 1750-96, George Washington Papers, MssD., LC, [12]. (Presidential Papers microfilm series no. 115 & 116)

16. 15 November 1762, George Washington, [122].

17. A review of all 353 inventories found in the Gunston Hall Probate Inventory Database as of February 2001, shows a clear increase of inventories listing any type of breakfast items through the decade of the 1790s, with slightly more than one third of the inventories dating from 1790 to 1799 containing breakfast items. This compares to 2% (one inventory) in the decade between 1750 to 1759.

18. Oxford English Dictionary, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), 1:269; from the Northumberland Household Book for 1512 as quoted in Sara Paston-Williams, The Art of Dining: A History of Cooking & Eating, (London: National Trust Enterprises Limited, 1993), 63-4.

19. Scheme of Goods for Occoquan Store 1760, Letter Book of Alexander Henderson, 1760-1764, Box 20, Lloyd House, Alexandria Public Library, Alexandria, VA.

20. To Mr. William Anderson, 4 October 1764, “Letters of Charles Carroll, Barrister,” Maryland Historical Magazine, 34 (June 1939):184.

21. Order 8 October 1771, Charles Carroll Letter-Book 1771-1833, Arents Tobacco Collection, No. S0767, Rare Book Collection, New York Public Library, (microfilm, Maryland Historical Society); Order-Earthenware, 26 October 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 117.

22. Josiah Watson, 8 Decr 1779, Hooe and Harrison Journal 1779-1783, Rare Book Collection, New York Public Library, (microfilm, Alderman Library, University of Virginia)

23. Invoice Sent to Mr. Traves Jones, May 1787, Letter Book 7, (1785-1787) Robert Carter Letterbooks and Day Books, Special Collections Department, William R. Perkins Library, Duke University, no. 282.

24. Robert Beverley to Mr. Samuel Gist, London, 14 April 1784, Letterbook 1761-1775, Robert Beverley Papers, MssD., LC, item no. 75v & 76; Account of September 21, 1791, Smith, Hue and Alexander Daybook, Kenmore, Fredericksburg, Virginia, 16.

25. Conversations with John D. Davis, Senior Curator and Curator of Metals, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 17 June 1997; Janine Skerry, Curator of Ceramics and Glass, C.W.F., 30 July 1997; Pat Halfpenny, Director of Museum Collections, Winterthur, 11 March 1998; and John Austin, retired Senior Curator and Curator of Ceramics and Glass, C.W.F., July 1997.

26. Robert Beverley to John Bland, 1763, Beverley, no. 19.

27. Breakfast cups and saucers occur in 15% of HHT (6% of REI). No Breakfast cups and saucers are recommended as none are specifically mentioned in the family inventory; however, it is possible that MASON00's set of breakfast china contained this form.

28. Col. Geo. Mason, DR., 26 August 1766, Piscataway, Maryland Ledger 1766, John Glassford and Company Records, 1753-1844, MssD., LC.

29. Robert Roberts, The House Servant's Directory (1827; reprint, Waltham, MA: The Gore Place Society, 1977), 37-8.

30. Invoice-Oil, Pickles &c, 8 October 1771, Charles Carroll, [GH transcription p. 2]

31. Inventory of Piscataway, Maryland Store, 23 January 1769, Container 36, Glassford, no. 9v-10.

32. Invoice of Earthenware bought of James McLeish 14 May 1774, Container 36, Glassford, no. 172.

33. Order-Earthenware, 1771,Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 14; Order-Tinware, August 1771, ibid., 37; Order-Earthen & Glass, August 1771, 40.

34. Order-Glassware, 20 March 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 77.

35. Order-Plate for William Lux, 4 May 1771 and Order for Charles Wallace 26 November 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 29, 47.

36. Invoice of Sundry goods Ship'd by Richd. Washington, 20 August 1757, Series 5, George Washington Papers.

37. Invoice of Goods Shipd on the Nautilus, April 1763, Series 5, George Washington Papers; Invoice from Farrer & Garret, London Jany 1770, ibid.

38. To Mr. William Anderson, 23 May 1759, “Letters of Charles Carroll” MHM, 32 (Dec. 1937): 353.

39. To Mr. William Anderson, 20 July 1767, “Letters of Charles Carroll,” MHM, 32 (December 1937): 353.

40. To Messrs William & James Anderson, 21 July 1768, “Letters of Charles Carroll,” MHM, 38 (June 1943): 188.

41. Invoice to Robert Bogle, 25 September 1763, Jones Family, no. 2344, 2345; Messrs Bogle & Scott, 9 Febr. 1764, ibid., no.2449; Messrs Bogle & Scott, 21 Feb 1764, ibid., no. 2441.

42. There is a confusion in the period terminology used to describe this form. It is not uncommon to find a listing for a cruet stand with castors or to see references to castor stands with no listing for what type of component they contained. Based upon surviving period examples it is apparent that both refer to the same type of object--a frame which contained both cruet and castor forms. All tabulations were done based upon this assumption and the term cruet/castor stand is used to reflect this methodology.

43. James Lomax, British Silver at Temple Newsam and Lotherton Hall (Leeds, U.K.:Leeds Art Collections Fund and W.S. Maney and Son Ltd., 1992), 945.

44. The 1802 indenture which sets aside furniture belonging to Mason daughter Anne Eilbeck Mason Johnson included “one silver Cruet Stand with Silver Casters for Sugar & pepper and Glass Cruets Capt with silver” valued at $80. Indenture between Rinaldo Johnson and Thomson & William Mason, 27 April 1802, Prince George's County Deed Book 1798-1802, Maryland State Archives, (microfilm no. CR 49, 543), 216-221.

45. To Mr. Nicholas Hayward &c, May 6th. 1689, as quoted in John D. Davis, English Silver at Williamsburg (Williamsburg, VA: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; Charlottesville: distributed by The University Press of Virginia, 1976), 153.

46. Col. George Mason, Esq'r DR. 26 August 1766, R8 C24, Piscataway Maryland Ledger, 1766, Glassford, 107; Col. George Mason, 5 August 1767, R9, C25, Piscataway Maryland Ledger, 1767, ibid., 38.

47. Davis, English Silver at Williamsburg, 155.

48. Col. George Mason, 5 August 1767, R9, C25, Piscataway Maryland Ledger, 1767, Glassford, 38.

49. Nutmeg graters are found within the Gunston Hall Probate Inventory Database in the category FOOD PREP, subcategory Processing. However, the decision was made to include nutmeg graters among the food service items in this report because the evidence suggests that a nutmeg grater would have been found among the furnishings in either the Little Parlor or the Dining Room.

50. Robert Beverley Letterbook: Order to John Bland, [1763], (G.H. transcription page 14); Order to Samuel Athawes, 6 September 1769 (trans. 21); Order June 1771 (trans. 26); Order to Samuel Athawes, 5 January 1773 (trans. 32); Order to Wm. Anderson & Co., 1786 (trans. 58); Order to Messrs. Anderson & Co., 22 July 1788 (trans. 61); Order to Messrs William Anderson & Co., 27 August 1792 (trans 86).

51. Order-Tinware, 25 April 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 2; Order-Tinware, 20 March 1772, ibid., 75.

52. William Lee to Mr. Samuel Thorp, London, 8 September 1785, William Lee Letter Book, August 5, 1783-April 11, 1787, Mss 145 f421, Virginia Historical Society.

53. “Recollectionsof John Mason,” transcribed by Terry Dunn & Estella Bryans-Munson, Gunston Hall Plantation Library and Archives, 1989; revised, 1999, 15.

54. Donald L. Fennimore, Metalwork in Early America: Copper and Its Alloys (Winterthur, DE: Winterthur Publications; distributed by Antique Collectors' Club, 1996), 93; Catherine Hollan, independant scholar, conversation with Ellen K. Donald, 12 March 1999; Davis, English Silver at Williamsburg, 140-141; Graham Hood, American Silver, A History of Style, 1650-1900 (New York: Prager Publishers, 1971), 119-20.

55. See Volume One, Chapter One of this report for a detailed discussion of the development of the Gunston Hall Probate Inventory Database.

56. Barbara Carson, Ambitious Appetites, 63-73.

57. To Messrs Wallace & Co, Order-Cutlery, 8 Jany 1775, Charles Carroll; Invoice, C4C, Order Cutlery & Braziery, 9 February 1784, ibid.

58. “Invoice of Sundry Goods to be ship'd by Robt Cary, Esq. . . . 1 May, 1759,” Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, W.W. Abbot & Dorothy Twohig, eds., 11 vols. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983), 6:317.

59. William Reynolds to George Norton, 9 September 1771, Letterbook, William Reynolds Papers, 1771-1796, MssD, LC.

60. Roberts, Directory, 47.

61. 23 August 1766, Piscataway, Maryland, Ledger, Glassford.

62. FLOOD76 seems to have used his knife trays for storing knives and forks but this may be a result of the large amounts of cutlery he owned.

63. To John Bland, 27 Dec. 1762, Beverley.

64. Invoice to Messrs. Bogle & Scott, 1 February 1764, Jones Family, no.2450; Invoice of Sundrys Sent for to Robert Cary & Co., Merchant, 27 August 1771, Tazewell Papers, Personal Papers, 24194, Virginia State Library.

65. Messrs Robt & Robt Bogles & Scott on board the Russhia Merchant . . . Piscattaway, Box 23, Glassford, no. 30.

66. John Trusler, The Honours of the Table, or, Rules for Behaviour During Meals, . . . (London, 1791), 14.

67. Roberts, Directory, 57-59.

68.Col. George Mason, 5 August 1767, R9, C25, Piscatway Maryland Ledger, 1767, Glassford, 38.

69. Invoice, 15 November 1762, Series 5, George Washington Papers, [122].

70. Invoice to Thomas Philpot bot of Masterman & Archer, 20 May 1763, Folder 1763, Vol. 69, Galloway- Maxey-Markoe Family Papers, 1654-1888, MssD., LC., no.35.

71. George Mason (III), Probate Inventory, 30 September 1735, Charles County Inventories 1735-1752, Charles County, Maryland, 14. (microfilm CR 39, 591-1, Maryland State Archives)

72. For a brief discussion of the evolution of knives and forks see Carson, Ambitious Appetites, 64-66.

73. To Mr. William Anderson, 9 October 1765 and To . . . Anderson, 10 Nov. 1764, “Letters of Charles Carroll,” MHM, 35 (June 1940):206, 201; To . . . Anderson, 2 Oct. 1764, ibid., 34 (June 1939): 181.

74. Invoice, Container 11, Jones Family, no. 2009.

75. Invoice to Mr. James Russell Bot of Sam. Towers, Container 16, no. 3199 and Container 16, no. 3134, Jones Family.

76. Invoice from Richard Neale . . . Cuty. 13 April 1763, Series 5, George Washington Papers; Invoice of Goods Ship'd on board the Jenny . . .Piscattaway. . . , Container 36, Inventory 1769-1774, John Glassford, no.19.

77. Beverley Letterbook: Robert Beverley to John Bland, 1763, no.19; Ltr. to John Bland 1763, no. 29; Ltr. to Messrs. Edward & Sam Athawes, 1 Sept. 1766, no. 43V & 44; Ltr to Samuel Ahawes, 1773. Letter of Charles Carroll: Invoice of Sundry Goods . . .to William Anderson, merchant in London. . .23d May, 1757, “Letters of Charles Carroll Barrister,” MHM, 32 (Dec. 1937): 353; Invoice of Goods. . .2d October 1764, ibid., 34, (June 1939): 181; Invoice of Goods. . .10th Novr 1764, ibid., 35 (June 1940): 201. See for example from the Jones Family Papers: 24 June 1752, no. 1584; [1760, April] no. 1821; and 12 Octr 1768, no. 3199. See from Series 5, Financial Papers, Papers of George Washington: 20 August 1757; 15 November 1762; June 1766 [209] and Invoice of Goods to be Shpd by Robt Cary . . . July 1771, p. 58.

78. Scheme of Goods for Colchester Store 1763, Letter Book of Alexander Henderson, 1760-1764, 157a, in Charles Hamrick & Virginia Hamrick, trans. & ed., Virginia Merchants, Alexander Henderson, Factor for John Glassford at his Colchester Store, . . . His Letter Book of 1758-1765 (Athens, Ga.: Iberian Publishing Company, 1999), 168.

79. Advertisement of Nathaniel Waters, Md. Gaz., 23 April 1761; Advertisement of Thomas Brooke Hodgkin, ibid., 5 March 1772.

80. Advertisement of William Hartshorne and Company, Va. J. & Alex. Advert., 19 August 19, 1784.

81. For purposes of this study a listing for a dozen knives and forks was interpreted to mean one dozen pairs, i.e., twenty-four individual items.

82. The listing in MASON86 is somewhat confusing. Although he owned both a mahogany and a shagreen knife box, the listing for contents is for knives but no forks. According to the criteria used for categorizing inventories in this study this would have placed him in the Old-Fashioned group. However, in virtually all instances where period use is discoverable, such cases were intend for both forms. Also to be considered was the fact that all other known family inventories, including those of his parents, contain both knives and forks. Taking these factors into account, the decision was made to consider the absence of forks as errors on the part of the inventory takers. For purposes of this study, therefore, the listings in MASON86 were tabulated as “1 dozen knives and forks” or 24 pieces in each case.

83. 23 August 1766, Piscataway Maryland Ledger, Glassford; Invoice, 22 July-28 August, 1780, De Neufveille & Son, Papers of John De Neufville, 1780-1789, in Robert A. Rutland, ed., Papers of George Mason, 1725-1792 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970), 2:665.

84. To Mr. William Anderson, 23 May 1757, “Letters of Charles Carroll,” MHM 32 (December 1937): 353.

85. For a discussion of the importance of marking silver with a crest, see particularly “The Irresistible Allure of Heraldry” in Michal J. Rozbicki, The Complete Colonial Gentleman: Cultural Legitimacy in Plantation America, (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1998), 43-58.

86. Invoice to Robert Cary & Co., Abbot and Twohig, Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, 7:167.

87. This tabulation includes spoons designated as “table” or those not designated as “tea” or as having some special serving function such as “soup” or “marrow” spoons.

88. Louise Belden, The Festive Tradition: Table Decoration and Desserts in America, 1650-1900 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, A Winterthur Book, 1983), 144.

89. “Martha Blodget,” in “Cawsons, Virginia in 1795-1796,” WMQ, 3 (April 1946): 283, 285. Entries are for 22 February 1795 and 1 March 1795.

90. To be sent by Robert Cary, Abbot and Towhig, Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, 7:78.

91. Susana Grey Detweiler, George Washington's Chinaware (New York, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1982) 50.

92. -Stoneware &c and China Glass Stone Ware &c-8 October 1771, Charles Carroll, GH trans. 2, 3; Earthenware-C4C-14 April 1773, ibid., 18; Stone & Earthen Ware China &c-E4R-8 Jany 1775, ibid., 24; Earthenware-ER-18 November 1784, 32.

93. Period documents include references to dessert knives, forks, and spoons. Although dessert spoons do appear in a small number of REI households, none are found in the Mason family inventories. Therefore, dessert spoons are not currently recommended for Gunston Hall and are not discussed in this report.

94. It is not clear what, if any difference there was between breakfast and dessert knives and forks. Both are assumed by modern scholars to be smaller versions of full size dinner cutlery. It may well be that the difference was in the eye and intent of the purchaser.

95. To Messrs Wallace & Co., 8 Jany 1775, Charles Carroll, GH trans. 20.

96. Invoice from Richard Weale, Cut[ler]y, 13 April 1763, Abbot and Twohig, Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, 7:195.

97. See Belden, Festive Tradition, 217-222, for a discussion of the role of fruit in the dessert course in 18th-century meals.

98. “Martha Blodget” in “Cawsons, Virginia in 1795-1796,” WMQ, 3 (April 1946): 283, 285, 288.

99. For an indepth discussion of period practices and fruit types, see Peter J. Hatch, The Fruits and Fruit trees of Monticello (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1988).

100. Advertisement of James Houston, Md. Gaz., 9 August .

1759101. Mr. Thomas Jones in Account with Thomas Simpson, Jones Family Papers, Container 16, no. 3163.

102. Inventory, Piscataway Maryland, 1 January 1773, Reel 14, Glassford, no. 131.

103. “Invoice of Goods Ship'd on board the Brigantine Maryland, St. Eustatia, 12 January 1780,” Hooe, Stone & Co., Invoice Book, 1770-Jan. 1784, Rare Book Collection, New York Public Library. (microfilm no. 3005, Alderman Library, University of Virginia).

104. Order-Cutlery, 3 December 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 65.

105. “Recollections,” 46, 44-45.

106. The Diaries of Geo. Washington, Donald Jackson, ed., (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1976-78), 1: 295, 315, 317-18, 327-28, 337; ibid., 3: 319; ibid., 107; Papers of George Mason, 2:676. For a discussion of fruit cultivation at Gunston Hall, see Susan Borchardt, “George Mason - Orchardist,” Gunston Gazette, 1 (Spring 1995), I-VIII.

107. Davis, English Silver at Williamsburg, 123-125, for a discussion of the use of this form for serving fruit.

108. Hannah Glasse, The Complete Confectioner or the Whole Art of Confectionery made Plain and Easy (J. Cooke, London, [1770] ), 263.

109. Invoice of Richard Farrer &c, August 1759, “Goods shipd . . . on board the Lawrence and Jane,” Series 5, George Washington Papers; Invoice from Richard Farrer, March 1761, ibid. See Arlene Palmer, Glass in Early America, (Winterthur, DE: Henry Francis duPont Winterthur Museum, 1993), 226-227, for a discussion and illustration of this later form.

110. To Robert Cary, September 1760, George Washington Papers.

111. Invoice E4R, 8 October 1771, Charles Carroll; [for house of Mr. Caton], May 1792, ibid., 109.

112. Order-Glassware, 20 March 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 77; Order-Glassware, 26 October 1772, ibid., 115.

113. Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy (1796: Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1971), 200.

114. Glasse, The Art of Cookery, 201.

115. Order-China, 25 April 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 5; Order-Tinware,25 April 1771, ibid., 27.

116. Invoice of Goods to Be sent by Mr. John Norton to George Wilson, 24 August 1768, Folder 12, John Norton & Sons, Account and Letter book, (unpublished), John D. Rockefeller Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; Invoice of Sundries for Robt. C. Nicholas to be added to that formerly sent, 14 October 1771, Folder 49, ibid.

117. “Professor Gwatkin of William and Mary on the Manners of the Virginians, c. 1770,” WMQ, 3rd ser., 9 (June 1952): 84.

118. Moncure D. Conway, “Footprints in Washingtonland,” Harper's New Monthly Magazine, ca. 1889, 743-744.

119. “A Dinner at Mount Vernon--1799,” from the “Unpublished Journal of Joshua Brookes,” as quoted in the Mount Vernon Ladies Association Annual Report, 1947, 22.

120. The Journal of Claude Blanchard, commissary of the French Auxilary . . . 1780-1783, translated from the French manuscript by William Duane, Thomas Blade, ed., (Albany: J. Munsell, 1876), 78 as quoted in Stephen Bonsal, When the French were Here . . . (Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1968 c1945). Blanchard discussing a dinner in Rhode Island, continues that “. . . and do not serve up ragouts at these dinners.”

121. “Blodget” in “Cawson's Vriginia, in 1795-1796,” WMQ, 3 (April 1946): 283-288.

122. Robert Beverley to John Bland, 27 December 1762, Beverley.

123. Invoice, C4C, 20 Decr. 1772, Charles Carroll.

124. Invoice to Messrs Wallace & Co., 8 Jany 1775, Charles Carroll.

125. Invoice . . . on board the Brigantine Maryland, St. Eustatia, 12 January 1780, Hooe, Stone & Co.

126. Susan Gray Detweiler, “Table- and Teawares Equipping the Washingtons' Table,” in George Washington's Mount Vernon, ed. Wendell Garrett (New York: The Monacelli Press, 1998), 193.

127. See Ann Smart Martin, “The Role of Pewter as Missing Artifact: Consumer Attitudes Toward Tablewares in Late 18th Century Virginia,” in Approaches to Material Culture Research for Historical Archaeologists (California, PA: California University of Pennsylvania, for The Society for Historical Archaeology, 1991).

128. Invoice sent to Mr. Waterman . . . risque of Eliza Jones, [1760, April], Jones Family, Container 10, no. 1821; Invoice to London, 1769, ibid., Container 17, no. 3374; Thomas Eskridge, 11& 20 October 1786 and 20 October 1786, William Trasce [Sale of estate of Col. Thomas Jones, Jr.?], ibid., Vol. 23, no. 5210.

129. To Mr. William Anderson, 23 May 1759, “Letters of Charles Carroll,” MHM, 32 (December 1937): 353.

130. Invoice from John De Neufville & Son, July 22-August 28, 1780, in Papers of George Mason, 2: 670, 667.

131. Holmes, Academy of Armory, 2:11 as quoted in Donald L. Fennimore, Metalwork in Early America, 100.

132. Order for Littleton Savage, September 1772, Folder 74, Norton; Order for John Wilkins & Co, 1773, Folder 100, ibid.

133. [To Mr. John Backhouse, Liverpoole], 1770, Beverley, no. 35v; To Mr. Samuel Athawes, 1773, ibid., no. 43v; To Messrs. William Anderson & Co., 6 September 1791, ibid., no. 104.

134. Col. George Mason, Esq'r DR, 27 August 1766, Piscataway Maryland Ledger 1766, Glassford, 107.

135. Folder 14, Norton; Order-Tinware, 2 April 1773, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 152.

136. Charles Wallace 25 April 1771, Order-Braziery, Wallace, Davidson and Johnson, 29.

137. Wolf Mankowitz, Wedgwood, 3rd. ed. (Leicester, England: Magna Books, 1992), 52-55.

138. Ltr. Geo. Mason to Fitzgerald, 27 March 1786, Papers of George Mason, 2:847.

139. See the discussion about soup in the introductory material dealing with table china in this report.

140. For purposes of this study, sauce tureens were counted with “boat” forms under the heading of butter or sauce boats.

141. It is possible that a large bowl may have been may have been used for serving soup; however, this usage would seem to be out of keeping with generally understood period practice.

142. Virginia Journals of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1795-1798, Edward C. Carter II, ed., 2 vols., (New Haven: Published for Maryland Historical Society by Yale University Press, 1977), 1:79.

143. Invoice from Messrs Bogle & Scott, Bot of Latitia Clark, Feby 1st, 1764, Jones Family, Container 13, no. 2450.

144. Order-Cutlery, 3 December 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 65; Advertisement of William Hartshorne and Company, Va. J. & Alex. Advert., 19 August 1784.

145. Folder 37, Norton.

146. Mankowitz, Wedgwood, 54.

147. August 5, 1767, Piscataway Maryland Ledger, 1767, Glassford.

148. Butter could also be sent to the table in solid form. However, no form for serving solid butter is recommended as the numbers for these items in the family, at 40%, are less than those in the larger population (52%).

149. Mankowitz, Wedgwood, 53.

150. Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery, xxii-xxiii.

151. Order-Earthenware, 25 April 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 14; Order-Glass & Earthenware, 25 April 1771, ibid., 27.

152. See Davis, English Silver at Williamsburg, 199; Lomax, British Silver, 51-52.

153. Bleden, Festive Traditions, 316-317.

154. Mankowitz, Wedgwood, 54.

155. Invoice of Goods to be sent by Mr. Norton to Peter Lyons, 24 September 1768, Folder 14, Norton.

156. Order-China, 25 April 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 27; Order-Tinware, August 1771, ibid., 31.

157. Stoneware &c, 8 October 1771, Charles Carroll.

158. See the previous discussion about soup in the introductory section to table china in this chapter.

159. A circa 1785 ladle in the Gunston Hall collection made by Philadelphia silversmith Richard Humphreys descends through the line of George Mason of Lexington. Although the question of whether it might have originally belonged to George Mason IV has been raised, there is no clear way of establishing his ownership. Indeed, it seems more likely that it was purchased by George Mason of Lexington when he set up his own household.

160. To John Bland, 27 Dec. 1762, Beverley.

161. To Messrs Wallace & Co., 8 January 1775, Turnery, Invoice E4R, Charles Carroll.

162. Invoice to Mr. Bogle, September 1763, Jones Family, Container 12, no. 2345v.

163. Order-Turnery, 25 April 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 6; Order-Turnery, August 1771, ibid., 34.

© Gunston Hall Plantation 2002