About this Event
The White House Historical Association welcomes you to a Meet the Authors and Book Signing for the official launch of their new book, Furnishing the White House: The Decorative Arts Collection by Betty C. Monkman, William G. Allman, Lydia S. Tederick, and Melissa C. Naulin.
In Furnishing the White House: The Decorative Arts Collection four generations of White House curators share their knowledge of more than two centuries of changing presidential taste, hospitality, and lifestyle. This richly illustrated and comprehensive history of White House decorative arts is the first published collaboration of these White House curators.
Furnishing the White House chronicles the stylistic periods of the decor, from the late Federal period, through eras of French and British taste, to the emergence of an American identity and the Colonial Revival. It is a study of how furnishings fit for the president of a republic became a museum collection of decorative arts recognized as among the finest in the nation. The book features 375 images of furniture, china, lighting, textiles, silver, and glass along with stories of how presidents and first ladies lived and entertained in the White House. With this book, the curators explore the meaning of objects in diplomacy, national pride, and everyday life and explain how museum-quality objects that are in constant use are cared for. The book provides catalog entries consolidating essential information, provenance, and associated histories.
Among the stories shared in the book is the journey of the suite of gilded furniture ordered by James Monroe from Paris cabinetmaker Pierre Antoine Bellangé, which was installed as the defining glory of the Oval Room in the rebuilt White House, sold at auction in 1860, and rediscovered in 1961 by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Eleven of the fifty-three original pieces are back in the White House and, recently regilded and reupholstered, once again defining what is now the Blue Room.
There is also an account of the famous Lincoln Bed, which has never left the White House and was purchased by Mary Todd Lincoln, but not slept in by Abraham Lincoln. The authors discuss its use over the years by presidential families and the 2005 refurbishment of the Lincoln Bedroom, complete with reproductions of Lincoln-era wallpaper, draperies, and carpet.
Event Venue & Nearby Stays
White House History Shop at the Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Avenue Northwest, Washington, United States