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University of Pennsylvania China:
Bicentennial Wedgwood Plates, 1940

In commemoration of the University's bicentennial, the University in 1939 commissioned two sets of Wedgwood China, one set of a dozen plates and one set of an equal number of dessert (or demitasse) cups and saucers. The Wedgwood China Company was selected for this commission partly because this firm had already produced several portraits of Benjamin Franklin during his lifetime, including the portrait which appears on each of the dessert cups.

One set of plates originally sold for twenty dollars. Like the cups, the plates were white, printed in red with drawings of campus scenes done by alumni of the University. The scene and the artist are identified on the back of each of plate. Some of these designs were reproduced in 1960 along with teacups and saucers in a similar design, featuring a profile of Benjamin Franklin.


Class of 1893 Gateway

College Hall Portico

The Dormitory Steps

The Engineering Steps

Evans Institute Portal

Forward Pass Franklin Field

Irvine Auditorium Spire

Law School Portal

Medical Laboratory Entrance

The Museum Porch

Veterinary Archway

Young Franklin


This exhibit was created in July 2005 by University Archives Summer Research Fellow Seth S. Tannenbaum, an undergraduate at Vassar College.