Featured Artifact

Broken fragments of a plate are glued together, but the plate is not complete.
Shattered remains of an 18th century "King of Prussia" plate.

NPS Photo

Fort Stanwix was originally built by the British in 1758 during the Seven Years’ War, also known as the French and Indian War. British soldiers occupied the fort to help maintain their claim over this area and defend their allied relationships with American Indians and the established trade routes between the Atlantic Coast and the Western Great Lakes. This plate is unique to the time period of the British occupation and was discovered by NPS archeologists during the 1970s excavation of the fort.

 
Fragments of an 18th century plate show embossed decorations of geometric design and a field cannon.
Cannon and lettering visible on the rim of the plate.

NPS Photo

This white salt-glazed stoneware plate was press molded with several unique design features along the rim, including an eagle, cannon, and geometric scroll along the rim of the plate. There are also letters that read: KING OF ---SSIA.

 

This is a King of Prussia plate, made during the mid-18th century to commemorate the military victories of King Frederick II (1712-1786) (Hume 1970: 408). The King of Prussia, also known as Frederick the Great, enjoyed the alliance of Great Britain during his military campaigns and was personally tied to the royal British family as the biological grandson of King George II (see Frederick II for more biographic information). As political and military allies, it is not surprising to see support for Prussia at British Fort Stanwix.

Archeologists have found plates like this one at other historic sites, like Wetherburn’s Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia (Hume 1990). Historic advertisements, like Boston Gazette’s ad for “White Stone, Prussian and Basket work’d Plates and Dishes” attest to the popularity of this design.

To see this plate in closer detail, visit the NPS Web Catalog


Works Cited

"Frederick II." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 11 July 2014.

Hume, Audrey Noël. 1990 (reprint). Wetherburn's Tavern Archaeological Report, Block 9 Lot 20 & 21. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library Research Report Series 1180. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library.

Hume, Ivor Noël. 1970. "The Rise and Fall of English White Salt-glazed Stoneware Part II," Antiques (March).

See also the Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture with the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.

 

 

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