The Paca China Collection
The Paca China Collection at Wright's Chance in Centreville is a comprehensive set of more than 300 pieces of Canton china. The china was given in two donations, the first from Mrs. McKenney, who acquired it from the Wye Plantation & the second gift was given by the Wright Family.
Canton porcelain was the only hard porcelain available to early Americans until the mid-1800s, and it is estimated that over 2.5 million pieces were exported from 1784-1850. The use of the term “Canton” can thus refer to all porcelain passing through the port of Canton, but it now specifically refers to the special pattern we know as Canton.
There are several distinct periods of Canton decoration for the American market. Beginning with the first period of 1784-1810, the finest decorated Canton was produced. The blue cobalt color, beautifully molded forms and finely developed motifs in the pattern were at their height.
Here is a quote we found on page 195 in a 1892 copyrighted book, China Collecting in America, by Alice Morse Earle: "the every-day china, the common table-ware, of all these good American citizens and patriots--Knox, Hancock, Paul Revere, the Otises, Quincys, and a score that might be named--the plates and dishes of china from which they ate their daily bread, were not of Lowestoft, but of honest old blue Canton."
The collection at Wright's Chance was likely the every day, as well as the company china of the William Paca Family. William Paca was a patriot leader who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and served as the State of Maryland’s third Governor. William Paca married Mary Chew in 1763, Paca and his wife owned the eastern half of Wye Island in Queen Anne’s County. They built a large estate on the island. The Society holds an annual Independence Day celebration at his memorial each Fourth of July.
In addition to the Paca china, the Society also has china donated recently by the Wright family. Both sets of china can be viewed at Wright’s Chance on First Saturdays.
With our gratitude Source: Canton Virtual Museum
Facts about the collection from QACHS Secretary Arthur Leiby & Chris Pupke