The Monticello “basket” plate is a type generally known as Chinese export porcelain, in which the decoration is painted on the body of a ceramic ware before glazing, after which it becomes covered by clear glaze. The most common colors used on this kind of pottery are metallic oxides of iron, and cobalt blue. The blue on white porcelain was one of the most popular items of the direct trade opened between America and China in 1784. The blue designs were initially purely Asian in character but were later influenced by Western art.
Fragments of the Monticello plate, on which this reproduction is modeled, were discovered during the excavation of a garden retaining wall in 1981. The design has a central basket or planter with flowers and a border of four reserves framed by geometrical columns. Reconstruction of the full design was accomplished by comparing Monticello’s fragments with a complete example in a private collection and twelve identical pieces held in the Winterthur Museum.