Headquarters House Museum decorative arts objects

This Chinese export porcelain leaf shaped sauce boat stand was once part of a larger dinner service created for members of the Society of The Cincinnati.  The stand is decorated in over-glaze enamel with an angel representing Fame holding aloft the order of the Society of the Cincinnati on a butterfly variant of the classic under-glaze blue and white Fitzhugh pattern.  The original Cincinnati porcelain service was commissioned by Samuel Shaw (1754–1794), an aide-de-camp of General Knox during the War and a member of the Society.  Shaw ordered the service when he went to China in 1785 as the first American merchant to go to China.  The plates with their under-glaze blue and design were manufactured in Jingdezhen, the city in south-central China as blanks in a stock pattern and then sent to Guangzhou, then known as Canton, on the southern coast of China. There, a Chinese painter added the design of the insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati to the center of each of the pieces.  This particular plate is not likely from General Washington’s personal service but rather from the identical one acquired by Washington’s friend Colonel Henry “Light Horse”.  Among the former owners of this stand is General Robert E. Lee, Colonel Lee’s father.

Pair of Dutch Delft Doré Birdcages c. 1730.

This lovely pair of birdcages was made in Holland in the typically Dutch medium of tin-glazed earthenware commonly referred to as Delftware.  Although they were made in Holland, the design and decoration is in imitation of Chinese Export Porcelain which was known to the European market by the early 18th century but which was beyond the pocketbook of most consumers.  The cages are painted in pink and green in a pattern of scrolling peonies on an iron red ground, a scheme most often associated with the Famille Vert palette of Chinese Export Porcelain. The decoration on the sides incorporates birds in flight and at rest perched on a fence.  Made to actually house live birds, commonly finches, each cage is mounted with metal bars and doors, an interior trough, and an opening for what would have been a wooden food drawer (missing). Each cage is approximately 8” square.

Figure of a Lady, Dutch Delft c. 1760.

Wearing a blue hat, yellow caraco or jacket over a petticoat and apron, this charming figure of a lady is dressed in the fashion typical of the mid-18th century.   Examples of surviving garments remarkably similar to her jacket can be found in the collections of the Textile Museum of Canada http://www.textilemuseum.ca/apps/index.cfm?page=collection.detail&catId=7310&row=201 and the Metropolitan Museum of Art http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/80003001.

“An Old Man Scaling Fish” by Quiringh Gerritsz van Brekelenkam (1622-1699)

Van Brekelenkam probably learned to paint under the ‘fijnschilder’ (fine painter) Gerard Dou in Leiden. In 1648 he and several other painters established the Leiden St. Luke’s Guild Painters.  Guild members were expected to adhere to certain requirements relating to quality and price, but the guilds also had funds to protect their members against hardship, economic or social. Like many artists of the time, Van Brekelenkam exercised another profession in addition to painting in order to supplement his income: around 1656 he is known to have obtained a license to sell beer and spirits. Several hundred paintings exist by Van Brekelenkam, primarily genre pieces, such as this example. Workplace interiors were his specialty.

This painting was part of the exhibit Matters of Taste:  Foodways of the Dutch Golden Age, 2002 Albany Institute of History and Art.

 
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Van Cortlandt House Museum

The Van Cortlandt House Museum, is the oldest building in The Bronx, New York City.
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We offer an authentic experience based on colonial daily life in New Amsterdam through our interactive field trip program which ties in with the New York City Department of Education Social Studies standards.

virtutes majorum filiae conservant

(women are the keepers of the past)