Inside the White House: The China Room

The China Room has to be one of the most historically rich rooms of the White House. Did you know that this room was first used as quarters for firemen during the Van Buren administration? After that, it was used as coat closet in 1902. It wasn’t until 1917 that then First Lady Wilson designated the room to be used as home for the White House’s ever growing collection of china. Up until 1917, old services of presidential china had been sold at auction to make room for new collections, but Mrs. Wilson effectively ended that practice.

Even with the prior regular disposal of presidential china, almost every past president, and their families, are represented in some form or fashion in the China room through both state and family china. Starting at the right of the stately fireplace, each collection of china is arranged neatly in chronological order. Each of the display cabinets that house the china are fitted with thick glass plates to protect its contents.

(post via: Home Decorating Blog )

white house china room

In terms of dimensions, the China Room measures approximately 27 ½ feet by 20 ½ feet. The room was redecorated for the first time since 1917 in 1970. The inspiration for the décor of the room was derived from a portrait of Mrs. Coolidge that hung in the room. This painting was created by Howard Chandler Christy in 1924. The vivid red hues in the portrait are carried throughout the room and can be seen in cabinets that are lined with red velvet, red silk taffeta window treatments, and the Indo-Isphan rug. For the lighting, the room features a glass cut chandelier. The chandelier was made in the early 1800’s, and it is fashioned after the English Regency style.

On either side of Mrs. Coolidge’s portrait, you will find a pair of Chippendale side chairs that are said to have been used by President George Washington. There is a stunning portrait just above the mantel that is entitled “View on the Mississippi Fifty-Seven Miles Below St. Anthony Falls, Minneapolis”. This painting was painted in 1858 by Ferdinand Richardt to celebrate the year that Minnesota first achieved statehood. Gilded sconces line either side of the portrait and serve to highlight its beauty. The white mantel is elaborately carved with figures of women.

china room in the white house

The China Room is a special room within the White House that is dedicated to preserving a piece of history. Several first ladies have also used this beautiful and elegant space as a retreat to relax and to do work.

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