University Collections of Art and History

Object Record

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Catalog Number R1967.1.262.2
Object Name Vase
Description Vase having a baluster-shaped body with a high waist and tapered neck with a flared rim; decorated in overglaze enamels with thirteen men standing and sitting at three tables beneath an adaptation of the Great Seal of the United States with an eagle with a shield on its breast and a banner in its beak inscribed "THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE" with the date "1776" below its tail. Floral sprays are scattered over the body and neck.

The scene is an adaptation of John Trumbull's painting, "The Declaration of Independence" which was completed in 1826. it is part of a cycle of historical paintings depicting key events in the American Revolution which hang in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

This vase is part of a group of Chinese export porcelain that copies paintings by Trumbull that hang in the U.S. Capitol. They were made sometime following the completion of the Capitol dome in 1865 and the purchase of the entire group of porcelain in Guangzhou, China around 1938. It is most likely that they were made in the 1920s, probably for the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. For whatever reason, the pieces did not leave China until acquired by James Henry, an American missionary working in China, who acquired them around 1938. He brought them to the United States in 1947.

Scientific analysis of the enamel colors on pieces in the group show that they are quite different from the famille rose enamel colors in use in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, supporting the attribution of these pieces to the twentieth century. XRF analysis was done on the green glaze of the tablecloth by Danielle Bowman and Lauren Sturdy on 7-27-10. Results show the green glaze contains lead, iron, copper, zinc, and calcium.
Year Range from 1920
Year Range to 1938
Material Hard Paste Porcelain
Place of Origin Made in Jingdezhen, Decorated in Guangzhou (Canton), China
Collection The Reeves Center
Collector Euchlin and Louise Herreshoff Reeves (R1967.1)
On View Reeves Center, Chinese Export Porcelain Gallery