When the First Lady, Mrs. Hayes, encountered Theodore R. Davis, an artist and reporter for Harper's Weekly, in the White House conservatory, she summoned his opinion on her soon-to-be ordered dessert plates. While Davis' duties had brought him to the official residence to oversee a photo session with the President, Mrs. Hayes was so taken with Davis' idea to depict flora and fauna on the entire porcelain service that she commissioned him to design the entire series in collaboration with Haviland & Co.
The overall shape of the soup bowls takes the floral form of a laurel blossom with a variety of illustrations constituting the central areas. The reverse, featuring a decorative starburst motif, bears the Haviland & Co. mark, signature of Theodore R. Davis, and patent numbers as found on those pieces marketed for sale.
HAVILAND & CO., 1884-1889