Sunday, December 13, 2009

President Monroe's "Other" China

This townhouse at 2017 I Street, NW in Washington, DC had some truly impressive occupants. Secretary of State James Monroe and his wife were residents here before the British invasion in 1814. They furnished the house with furniture and other items acquired when Monroe served as America's minister to France. With their entertaining style heavily influenced by what had experienced in France, all of Washington was impressed with their taste and hospitality.

When Monroe was inaugurated as President in the Spring of 1817, The Executive Mansion had not yet been fully restored form the damage inflicted by the British during the War of 1812. He and First Lady Elizabeth Monroe continued to live at 2017 I St. until the Fall of 1817.

Among the furnishings used in their townhouse home were two sets of china. The amaranth (red) bordered Monroe china is well known. However, there was also a Monroe monogrammed china (shown below) that was also used. These china sets, along with their other beautiful furnishings were moved to The Executive Mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue in September when the President and Mrs. Monroe took up residency.

These are photos of our reproductions, but these are identical to the ones owned by the Monroes. I love the eagle in the center of the large plate above. It is only on the large 12 inch plate and the 9 inch rim soup/individual pasta bowl.
The Monroe Monogram design is one of my favorites that remains "undiscovered" by most.
Here's a link to our entire collection:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Your comments/emails

For those of you who have emailed me, thank you for your notes. I'm glad that you are interested in some of the other related areas that we do work on. So, while we will continue to focus our postings on White House China, I will include some of the other, closely related projects that we always seem to have going on.

For instance, I will try to post later today or over the weekend a story on the 'other' James Monroe china. This monogrammed, French-made china was brought over and used in the rental townhouse that President and Mrs. Monroe had in Washington.

Thanks again for your emails.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Note from Woodmere

Since we are trying to serve you - our readers - I am interested in learing what you might like to see contained in our blog. So, as we are preparing to get ready for 2010, I thought I would take the time and ask for your input. After all, we want try to make this as interactive as we can.

So, if you would....take a couple of moments and let us know what you think:
  • who you are
  • why you stop by and read our blog
  • what kinds of things you would like to see written and posted here
  • any other way that we might be able to help out
You can either post here....or send me and email at I'll answer....promise. And thanks for reading.

Dave Turner

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monroe China

The Monroe 'amaranth' border china is pretty special. We have worked very hard over the past few years to make the vignettes as historically accurate as possible. We appreciate the good comments on the results of our efforts.

Friday, December 4, 2009

White House Chef Roland Mesnier Creates Mount Vernon in Gingerbread

Chef Roland and his team are in the second week(!) of creating this unbelievable gingerbread reproduction of George and Martha Washington's home. There is so much attention to detail, down to the lawn having snow on it!

While he has done many gingerbread mansions (including ones of a little house on Pennsylvania Avenue), each one is different and takes careful planning and very specific execution of the plan. Still, things always have to be adjusted and adapted.

Here's a close up of some of the detail in the farm animals on the Potomac River side of the mansion.

As it nears completion, it is hard to understand all the hard work over two weeks to create such a masterpiece. Amazing! Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier is truly a meastro. I can only hope that you will be able to visit Mount Vernon this holiday season and Chef Mesnier's handiwork.

Make sure you check out Roland's books....he makes desserts seem easy!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

White House Chef Roland Mesnier: Mount Vernon Gingerbread

Look tomorrow for posting showing some great shots of former White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier's gingerbread replica of the mansion at Mount Vernon. In addition to making the gingerbread mansion, he was also signing a number of his gorgeous books! If you haven't checked them out.....the photos of his scrumptious creations will make your mouth water!

See you on Friday!