Script initials “J A A” surmounted by crest of arm holding sword, on skein, engraved along top of rim.
Circular dinner plate with flat bottom and tiered, concave rim; rim decorated with applied molded border.
This dinner plate was from a silver service owned by John Armstrong Jr. and his wife, Alida Livingston Armstrong. John Armstrong Jr. was a long-time American statesman who served during the Revolutionary War as an aide to Generals Hugh Mercer and Horatio Gates; a United States senator from New York (1800 to 1802, 1803 to1804); and a minister to France from 1804 to 1810. During the War of 1812, Armstrong was stationed in New York (commissioned as a Brigadier General). In 1813, he was appointed as the US Secretary of War. In office during the British occupation of Washington, D.C., he resigned in 1814 after the unprepared city was devastated on his watch.
Armstrong married Alida Livingston, the sister of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, in 1789. Owning French silver was one of many things the Armstrongs and Chan. Livingston had in common, as the latter purchased a dinner service and additional pieces (including a silver coffeepot, 1951.284) for use during his term as US Minister to France (1801 to 1804). Armstrong succeeded his brother-in-law in France, and it is likely that he and his wife purchased the silver service to use while they were in residence there. This plate descended largely through the family’s matrilineal line, beginning with the Armstrong’s daughter, Margaret Rebecca (1800-1872).
Armstrong spent his later years as a gentleman farmer in upstate New York at the couple’s estate, La Bergerie (now known as Rokeby), completed in 1815. Located near Chancellor Livingston’s estate, Clermont, La Bergerie was built on Livingston family land. Armstrong also shared Livingston’s interest in animal husbandry, and raised a herd of merino sheep initially given to him by Napoleon at La Bergerie.
John Armstrong Jr. (1758−1843), who married Alida Livingston (1761−1822); to their daughter, Margaret Rebecca Armstrong (1800-1872), who married William Backhouse Astor Sr. (1792−1875), to their daughter Emily Astor (1819−1841), who married Samuel C. Ward (1814−1884); to their daughter Margaret Astor Ward (1838−1875), who married John Winthrop Chanler (1826−1877); to their son, Winthrop Astor Chanler (1863−1926), who married Louisa Margaret Terry (1862−1952); to their daughter Beatrice Chanler (1891−1974), who married Pierre Francis Allegaert (1896−1961); to their son, Winthrop J. Allegaert (b. 1929) and daughter-in-law, the donor.