This charming pair of enamel cloak pins features a portrait of George Washington, transfer-printed on enamel. Washington's portrait was likely copied from one of the numerous engravings of the first president, which circulated widely during the period. Cloak pins served multiple functions in early American homes, providing a convenient place to hang a cloak or surplice, to hold back curtains, or as decorative points from which to suspend paintings and looking glasses. The transfer-printed medallions were produced in large quantities and applied to a wide range of uses as drawer pulls, box lids, and decorative miniature portraits. Often, the medallions had to be re-sized for uses other than those which were originally intended, explaining why some of the text has been cropped on these examples. These pins were likely produced in England, which had a strong industry in the production of both brass hardware and enamels during the period. Much of the hardware used in the United States during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was produced in England.

Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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Pair of Cloak Pegs
c. 1790–1820
Enamel on brass
Each: 2 7/8 × 2 in. diameter (7.3 × 5.1 cm)
Credit Line

The Bayou Bend Collection, museum purchase funded by Settler's Hardware and Susan Neptune

Current Location
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Accession Number

Research ongoing