England; 1720–80  
Earthenware, lead glaze 
Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont 1958.1083 

In some homes, dishes like this one were used in the kitchen to heat or cook foods in front of the fire, often evident by the dark color on the unglazed underside of the dish. They may also have been used by servants or enslaved people for dining, which may be indicated by scratches on the glaze of the dish’s top surface, showing utensil use. 

Image of related Mount Vernon fragment , N. Midlands/Staffordshire Slipware Dish, Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association  

The fragmentary ceramic shown here was excavated at Mount Vernon’s Mansion Farm in Virginia and is from a context associated with the “House for Families” site. That building, in existence by around 1760 and demolished in 1792-93, was where many of the Mansion House Farm’s enslaved people resided. The intact Winterthur object shown here illustrates the approximate appearance of the fragmentary one, before it was damaged and discarded.