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Badge of the Society of the Cincinnati

Object Name: Badge
Date: ca. 1802
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Medium: Silk, gold, enamel
Dimensions: Overall: 3 3/4 × 1 1/2 in. (9.5 × 3.8 cm)
Place made: North America, United States, New York
Description: Badge consisting of silk ribbon of pale blue with white edges, attached by gold loop to badge in the form of an eagle with outstretched wings and a wreath around his head; obverse has eagle head facing left, and oval plaque at center of eagle with enameled image of Cincinnatus receiving a sword; reverse has eagle head facing right and enameled plaque at center with scene of city and Cincinnatus in foreground; eagle, plaque and portion of wreath decorated with enamels; plaques with Latin inscriptions around perimeter of oval. Separate length of unused silk ribbon (b).
Credit Line: Gift of Miss Frances Jay, Mrs. Alexander Duer Harvey, Mrs. Lloyd Kirkham Garrison, and Mrs. Lawrence W. Fox in memory of Mrs. Pierre Jay (Louisa Shaw Barlow)
Object Number: 1972.12ab
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Marks: On reverse of enamel plaque: "SOCIETAS : CINCINNATORUM : INSTITUTA : AD : 1783"; on obverse of enamel plaque: "OMNIA : RELINQUIT : SERVARE : REMPUBLICAM"

Gallery Label:

This badge belonged to Matthew Clarkson (1758-1825), an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati. The badge appears in a portrait of Clarkson by Gilbert Stuart at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The original medal, which was distributed to Revolutionary War officers, was designed by Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant and the die cut in Paris in 1784. This example was made in New York City around 1802 and is one of only five known surviving examples.