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Lot #330
Thomas Jefferson White House China Soup Bowl

Incredibly rare and majestic presidential bowl from Thomas Jefferson

Estimate: $0+
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Incredibly rare and majestic presidential bowl from Thomas Jefferson

Original Thomas Jefferson presidential china soup bowl. Beautiful china shallow soup bowl, circa 1790, is made of white Chinese porcelain, measures 9.5″ in diameter (the same as the Jefferson dinner plate), and is painted blue with gilt fleur-de-lis edges. Center of the bowl bears an exceptional hand-painted design featuring Jefferson’s neoclassical shield studded with 13 gold stars which encloses the script initial “J,” surmounted by a plumed knight’s helmet.

This particular gilt “J” dinner service has long been linked to Thomas Jefferson, including being published in Official White House China (mentioning early Chinese export) by M.B. Klapthor, with examples at one time on display at Monticello, the US State Department Diplomatic Reception Rooms, and the White House (before at least 1908). Jefferson's 19th century direct lineal descendants strongly believed in Jefferson's ownership of the 1790s "J" service, sought to re-acquire it, and then gifted four "J" pieces to the White House in the early 1900's—where each piece has remained for over 100 years. An incredibly rare opportunity to acquire such an attractive piece of US history, as most, if not all, of the other china from the first three presidents were destroyed when the British ransacked and burned the Executive Mansion during the War of 1812. The historical significance of such a rare piece of presidential porcelain from a well-known collection, in such truly superb condition, is not to be understated. The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Remarkable Rarities Auction
  • Dates: #447 - Ended February 18, 2015