Made for Major Samuel Shaw (1754-1794), supercargo on the Empress of China, the first American ship to reach Canton, having set sail from New York 22 February 1784. Major Shaw had been a wartime aide to both General Washington and General Henry Knox. Knox conceived the idea of the Society of the Cincinnati to honor the brave American farmer-patriots who had won their War of Independence, becoming Secretary of the Society while Washington was its President. Shaw, on his first trip to Canton, had commissioned porcelain decorated with the Order of the new Society within underglaze blue borders. This porcelain, which followed him home on the Pallas in 1785, was sold in Baltimore and New York, including the pieces that went to Washington, now largely at Winterthur. Shaw returned to China, in fact becoming the first United States Consul to Canton, and organized by 1790 orders for several Cincinnati tea sets for friends and one service for himself with the then-fashionable grisaille floral sprigs. A punchbowl from this service in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is illustrated by Beurdeley, op. cit., cat. 217. Also see Howard & Ayers, op. cit., pp. 488-92 and Howard, New York and the China Trade, pp.74 and 78.