It’s not very often that you can claim that your workplace is featured on fine china, but we’re some of the lucky few that can! This dinner plate got us thinking about all of the feasts that would have been held on this site when it was the Royal Governor’s residence, so we did some research into the types of parties thrown in the Spanish and British colonial times.
Probably the most notable gatherings occurred during the British Period (1764-1784) when East Florida was under the governorship of James Grant. Grant was a Scottish born military officer and was appointed the first governor under British rule of Florida. He resided in the Royal Governor’s residence from 1764 until he resigned in 1771. He was well known for his love of entertaining, and this did not stop when he arrived in St. Augustine. Many of his friends were appointed as governmental officials and they allegedly did much of their talk of the colony over dinner and many many drinks. From Grant’s own accounts, he described parties that lasted until 6 in the morning the following day, and kept a detailed record of how many glasses of port, claret, and other wines were drunk each day. We can only imagine what those receiving the reports back in England must have thought!
“86 gallons of Jamaican rum, 150 gallons of common rum, 140 gallons of Madeira wine, 76 gallons of Tenerife wine, 1,200 bottles of claret, 519 bottles of port, and similar amounts of champagne, sweet wine, porter, beer, ale, cider, arrack, and ‘old hock.'”Amount of alcohol consumed by Governor Grant in St. Augustine, from his personal records.
A watercolor from 1764 shows the site from the Plaza, and is the inspiration for the likeness of Governor’s House on our dinner plate! Over the entrance, a balcony projects under the gable roof. This image served as the inspiration for the 1935-7 Government House designs by architect Mellen C. Greeley, and the Governor’s House we know and love today.