Originally exhibited at the Crystal Palace Fair of 1853 in New York by the E.V. Haughwout & Co., under the name of Haughwout & Dailey, this service was ordered by Mary Todd Lincoln in 1861. The only change Mrs. Lincoln made was to replace the blue border with "Solferino," or royal purple, that would better compliment the fashionable interiors of the White House and her own personal dress. One of the rarest forms from this service, this custard cup was one of only thirty-six originally ordered by Mrs. Lincoln in May of 1861. The service was reordered in 1866 during the Johnson administration, in 1873 during the Grant Administration and finally in 1884 during the Arthur administration.
For further discussion of the state service of Abraham Lincoln, including a related example of cup, see Margaret Brown Klapthor, Official White House China 1789 to the Present (New York, 1999), pp. 82-86.