Wednesday, February 25, 2009
All our pieces are decorated, by hand, in our New Castle, Pennsylvania production studio. (Can you imagine trying to make sure ALL the decorations are perfectly straight!!)
For more information on the Lincoln china from Woodmere's White House Collection, click here: http://www.woodmerechina.com/whitehouse_items.cfm?item=2
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
For more on Woodmere's John Adams china, click here:
Monday, February 23, 2009
Their current issue features many White House China patterns and is a great read. They have even come up with a digital version of the magazine which is easy to use and read. Definitely worth a look.
Friday, February 20, 2009
from the blog -http://www.twirlandtaste.com/2009/02/presidential-blue-plate-punch.html
Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, was the first of three elected from Tennessee. Orphan, battle hardened warrior, founder of the Democratic Party, and architect of the modern presidency, Jackson rose from nothing to the pinnacle of power.Elected in 1828, Jackson went to Washington, the grieving widower, having buried his beloved Rachel on Christmas Eve at The Hermitage near Nashville. Though a simple man, during his term he had a French chef at The White House. He kept a horseshoe-shaped table in the state dining room and the East Room was resplendent with the finest china, silver and crystal. As was the custom at the time, he commissioned the china service from France.
Jackson had a penchant for magnificent buffets – lamb with rosemary, crème anglaise floating islands and French wines when he entertained, but loved simple food such as corn pone, hickory nut cake, squirrel stew, and fried ham. Jackson liked to serve his White House guests Daniel Webster Punch which was a potent potion.
Daniel Webster Punch
2 dozen lemons, strained
2 pounds sugar
1/2 pint green tea
1 quart brandy
3 quarts claret
Bottle tightly and allow to stand overnight. Add two or three bottles of champagne. Add slices of fruit such as bananas, pineapples, oranges, or strawberries. Serve over ice.
Today previous patterns are stored in the "Presidential Collection Room" which was designated by Mrs. Woodrow Wilson in 1917 to display the growing collection of White House china. Up to that time, presidential china was regularly sold at auction to help fund the purchase of new china. Even so, almost every past president is represented in the China Room either by state or family china or glassware.
Posted by Libby Murphy
Thursday, February 19, 2009
from the website of the Hartford Courant www.Courant.com February 20, 2009
This plate is from the original White House set of dishes used by President Abraham Lincoln. It sold recent at Cowan's Auctions in Cincinnati for $14,100, even though it has a chip on the edge.
When Abraham Lincoln was president, his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, bought a new set of dishes for the White House. Mrs. Lincoln realized a state dinner would require more dishes than were in the set bought during President Pierce's administration. Many of that set's white dishes with gold-and-blue trim had been used and broken.Mrs. Lincoln went to New York City and ordered a set from E.V. Haughwout & Co., the same company that had furnished the Pierce set. The center of the dishes is decorated with an eagle holding a red, white and blue shield and a banner saying "E Pluribus Unum."The edge is gold-and-white twisted ropes surrounding a border of purplish-red called "Soliferno," a fashionable new shade at the time.The same pattern was ordered several times in later years as new dishes were needed. This explains why some of the dishes are unmarked, some are marked "Fabrique par Haviland & Co. pour J.W. Boteler & Bro., Washington" and some are marked "Theo Haviland, Limoges, France, J.W. Boteler & Son, Washington, D. C."
All of these dishes were used in the White House. But later, some souvenir plates were made with a border in a different shade of purple. These are marked "Administration Abraham Lincoln." The souvenir plates sell for about $300 each. The authentic White House plates usually bring $4,000 to $6,000. At a Cowan Historical Americana Auction in December, a chipped 9 1/2 -inch plate sold for $14,100.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
by Marsha Dubrow, DC Art Travel Examiner
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Pictured here is the Jefferson china.
For more information on Woodmere's White House Collection and the Jefferson pattern, click here:
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
In Springfield, Ill., 19th and 21st centuries merge in the nation's most popular presidential library and museum, a dazzler drawing millions.
By Julia M. Klein
For The Inquirer
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - It's all Lincoln, all the time, in this state capital where our 16th president honed his political skills. Along wide boulevards and deco skyscrapers, abundant plaques, tours, and reconstructed 19th-century buildings pay homage to Abraham Lincoln's pre-presidential years.
For more, click here:
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
We especially liked the posting from January 18, 2009....here's a link to the posting for that day.
Take a couple of minutes to check out some of the other posting subjects on this site. We think you'll enjoy them.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Composer Marc Shaiman was nominated for the Original Musical or Comedy Score Oscar for The American President. The film was nominated for Golden Globes for best director, best screenplay, best actor in a comedy/musical for Michael Douglas, best actress in a comedy/musical for Annette Bening, and best comedy/musical motion picture.
Besides, name me two actors who are sexier than Michael Douglas and Annette Benning.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
by Ana Kinkaid, Seattle American Food Examiner
Seattle has long loved its legendary Market Spice Tea. Founded in 1911, its teas and spices have been enjoyed from Pike Place Market to China (yes, Seattle sends tea to China).
And now, Terry Hill, new general manager of Market Spice, is forwarding Market Spice Tea samples to Sam Kass, the new personal chef of the Obama family, for his review. What made this exchange possible was a recent conversation about a little known piece of American culinary history.
During the recent Obama Inauguration, tea was served using a reproduction of the Lincoln White House china. Few senators at that luncheon probably knew the amazing history of those china teacups, which were also a favorite of Jackie Kennedy.
Each cup and sauce used was bordered by a broad band of “solferino” purple - the 19th century newest and most fashionable color. This new deep purple dye had been created early in the 1800’s by the porcelain craftsmen of Solferino, a town in Northern Italy.
In 1859 a massive battle between the leading European powers of Austria and France engulfed tiny Solferino. The great nations involved decided to use their new mechanize weapons for the first time.
The resulting causalities were shocking. Over 40,000 men died in a single day. Another 40,000 died the next day because medical care was non-existent after the battle. Henri Dunant, a Swiss mechant, had come to Solferino on business, watched in horror the carnage of the battle and the needless aftermath of death. On returning home he wrote about what he had seen in a stirring book entitled, A Memory of Solferino. His book called on all the nations of the world to set up commissions to deal with war casualties. His story was read across Europe and slowly the concern for those injured by war or tragedy increased.
Probably unaware of the double legacy of the name solferino, Mary Todd Lincoln purchased her original plates, banded in solferino purple during the first years of her husband’s presidency.
Soon the War Between the States had split the nation and the same weapons of mass destruction were being used on American battlefields. And our nation wept as Europe had wept at the senseless loss of life.
But in October of 1863, while the American Civil War still raged and the Lincoln drank sad thoughtful tea from the beautiful solferino teacups, a committee of five concerned men met in Geneva, Switzerland to wonder if some sort of support organization to help the injured could be created. Henri Dunant, of course, was there. Their passionate courage to meet and create a better world laid the foundation for what would become the International Red Cross. For his work, Henri Dunant won the first Nobel Price for Peace.
One can only wonder how many of those who lunched with Obama in Washington this past January knew that their teacups contained such a heritage of caring - one that reaches far beyond a single day or any one presidency.
The staff at Market Spice, however, knows the story and hopes you will join them in not only enjoying a cup of their historic tea, but will also stand with them in supporting regional hospitals and disaster relief charities.
If you’d like to share this story with others, consider enjoy one of Seattle’s very best teas in a replica of the actual Lincoln solferino teacup, available from the gift shop at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa.
We live in what many call ‘troubled times’. But these are also times when we can change our national story for the better. All we need is a good cup of tea and some courage!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Here's another article....this time from today's Chicago Tribune which refers to Woodmere's White House Collection Lincoln plates that were used in the Inaugural luncheon at The Capitol on Inauguration Day:
Now, if we could just get these writers to say that they are made by Woodmere.....
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Woodmere, known for it's high quality reproductions, produces fifteen president overall and produces the complimentary series Flowers of The First Ladies Collection, as well. To see the entire Woodmere line of historic reproductions, go to: http://www.woodmerechina.com/
The China Room is one of the rooms on the ground floor in the White House, the home of the president of the United States. The White House's collection of state china is displayed there. The collection covers administrations from George Washington's Chinese export china to Bill Clinton's ivory, yellow and burnished gold china commemorating the two-hundredth anniversary of the White House's occupancy by John Adams. The room is primarily used by the First Lady for teas, meetings, and smaller receptions.
Until late 1902 when the room was refinished as a public entertainment space during renovations directed by Charles Follen McKim, this room, along with most of the ground floor of the residence, was used for household work and general storage. McKim rebuilt the room with details from the late Georgian period including robust cove moldings.
The China Collection Begins
In the 1889 Mrs. Benjamin Harrison was the first to start collecting china from previous administrations. Mrs. Harrison displayed the china she collected in Arts and Crafts movement style cabinets in the ground Floor Center Hall. Little value had ever been placed on presidential dinner settings, and damaged china was sold or given away as late as the McKinley administration.
In 1917 First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson became aware of the lack of properly curated White House artifacts through a series of articles in the Washington Post authored by Abby Gunn Baker (1860–1923). Baker had researched the history of the White House over a twenty year period and argued that the history of the house was slipping away, and that without official intervention would be lost. In response Mrs. Wilson surveyed the Ground Floor looking for a room in which to display the growing collection of White House china. Working with White House Chief Usher "Ike" Hoover Mrs. Wilson designated a large room located in the southeast of the Ground Floor as the new "Presidential Collection Room" to be outfitted with built-in cabinetry for the display of White House china. Above the built-in wall cabinets a carved inscription reading CHINA USED BY THE PRESIDENTS was installed.
Truman and Kennedy Periods
Following the Truman renovation, 1949–1952, the walls were paneled in salvaged pine timbers from the house. Architect William Adams Delano detailed the room with bracket molding of mid-Georgian style. The paneling was left unpainted until it was painted ivory as part of redecoration by Stéphane Boudin during the Kennedy administration
The room was substantially redecorated in 1970 by White House Curator Clement Conger and interior decorator Edward Vason Jones during the administration of Richard Nixon. The Truman era bracketed molding was removed and replaced with a later Federal period cove molding. A red accent color, determined by the red gown in the portrait of First Lady Grace Coolidge, painted by Howard Chandler Christy in 1924 was retained. The vitrine shelves are lined with a similarly colored red velvet.
The collection is arranged chronologically beginning to the right of the fireplace on the east wall. While not every administration created their own service, at least minimal amounts of all china services created for the White House are now in the collection. Sizable amounts of some services going back to the early nineteenth century exist and is sometimes used for small dinners in the President's Dining Room on the Second Floor. The Carters favored using pieces of the Lincoln's amaranth purple rimmed china for special occasions. The Reagans, though famous for their red and gold service also enjoyed using the Lincoln china. The Clintons did not take delivery of their state service until near the end of President Clinton's second term. They used the Reagan and Truman services extensively for state dinners, but for small family dinners, especially holidays, favored the Hayes china which depicts American flora and fauna.
The rug is an Indo-Ispahan carpet from the early twentieth century. A cut-glass Regency style chandelier hangs in the China Room. A pair of late eighteenth century tureens on the mantel are glazed in red and green slip, and are the source for the green and red striped silk taffeta draperies. Two high-backed lolling chairs, made early in the nineteenth century and upholstered in ivory and moss green are arranged in front of the portrait of Mrs. Coolidge. An English neoclassical mantel is located on the east wall, and Ferdinand Richardt's "View on the Mississippi Fifty-Seven Miles Below St. Anthony Falls, Minneapolis," completed in 1858 hangs above the mantel.
***shown in the John Adams pattern by Woodmere; for more information, go to:
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Presidential China: What Is It? What Is It Worth?
What is this presidential china worth?
Courtesy of Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Written by Helaine Fendelman
Beginning with President George Washington (president, 1789-1797), presidential china reflected the personal and public taste of the time. In 1845, James K. Polk (president, 1845-1849) became the 11th president of the United States. In 1846, the Polk State Service was purchased for $979 through the New York dry goods merchant Alexander Stewart & Co. The Parisian firm Edouard Honoré produced the 400 rococo-style dinner and dessert pieces, which are considered to be among the most beautiful of all presidential china. Polk's china features a green border, molded and gilded scrolls, and assorted floral motifs. This rare Polk State Service dessert plate has an elegant sweet pea and violet floral motif.
President James K. Polk's china was the first to be designed with a shield of stars and stripes. Designs usually featured the Federal eagle motif.
VALUE = $25,000
What is it worth?
While most examples can be found today on display at museums and at the White House, presidential china periodically turns up at public auctions. Prices can start at $7,000 apiece.
Even into the 20th century, White House china was often given away if it was chipped or broken. Later, Congress passed a law that required that all presidential china be kept or destroyed. When new dessert plates for the Johnson administration turned out badly, the White House staff smashed it against a basement wall painted with caricatures of the president's assistants.
Today, nearly all presidents are represented in the china collection one way or another. And full services suitable for state dinners exist for the B Harrison, Wilson, FD Roosevelt, Truman, L Johnson, Reagan, and Clinton sets, although the older sets are much smaller than the newer ones and cannot be used for the largest events. Replacement pieces are occasionally ordered for these, as pieces become chipped or broken.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
BEDFORD, PA -- As President Barack Obama and his family settle into the White House this week, James William Floyd Allen can't help but think about the many unforgettable moments that unfold behind the scenes at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The former housekeeping director at Bedford Springs Resort, Mr. Allen, known as "Skip," spent more than 24 years at the White House, first leading tours there as a U.S. Secret Service agent and later serving as an usher. He always wore a black tie and tuxedo for state dinners.
He recalls the night when Miss America, an especially beautiful, thin woman, arrived late for one of those dinners. He greeted her as she emerged from the car. At that moment the back zipper broke on her strapless gown. While the nation's reigning beauty queen quite literally held herself together, Mr. Allen reached into his pants, unfastened the safety pin he always used to keep his tuxedo shirt in place and pinned Miss America together.
After that close encounter, Mr. Allen always carried four safety pins, as well as an extra napkin and set of silverware for dinner guests who dropped or misplaced those items. Allen served seven first families, starting with the last 20 days of President Jimmy Carter's administration and ending with President George W. Bush in 2004. His favorite was President Ronald Reagan, a jovial man who always said hello, had a story to tell and did not take himself too seriously.
Late in the evening of his Jan. 20, 1981, inaugural, Mr. Reagan's signature was needed on a document, so Mr. Allen hurried upstairs to see the new president. He stood and waited while the president, dripping from a shower, wiped off his hand and wrote his name. Less than an hour later, Mr. Allen had to obtain the president's signature again on another document. This time, Nancy Reagan answered the door and the president emerged from his dressing room wearing his underwear. "Oh, Ronnie, put on a robe," Mrs. Reagan said. The president demurred, saying, "That's all right. He's already seen me naked."
The four White House ushers report to the chief usher, whose job is like that of a general manager at a large hotel. "Our job is to keep the president's family happy," Mr. Allen, 66, said as he stretched out on a sofa in his beautifully decorated living room full of mementos in Bedford, where he has retired. "Whatever they want and can be done is done for them so they feel comfortable in the White House," Mr. Allen said. The White House employs roughly 100 people, including butlers, cooks, carpenters, engineers, florists, plumbers and housekeepers, but an usher's job can be unpredictable.
As he left town one weekend, the 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush, told the chief usher that he'd love to have a horseshoe pitch on the mansion's south lawn.
"So, over the weekend, we put in a horseshoe pitch," Mr. Allen said, adding that when President Bush saw it, he remarked, "I'm glad I didn't ask for anything extensive." Mr. Bush's successor made a different request. "They installed a running track for President Clinton because he ran every day. It was recently taken out," Mr. Allen said, adding that the late Gerald Ford had a swimming pool installed, which First Lady Barbara Bush also used.
Doing a job well, quickly and unobtrusively is the ushers' credo, a tone set by the late Irwin Hood Hoover, known as "Ike," who supervised the wedding of Alice Roosevelt Longworth.
Planning receptions and state dinners is one thing but furniture design is quite another.
During the Clinton administration in 1997, Gary Walters, the chief usher, asked Mr. Allen if he could design a new table for the state dining room. After consulting with banquet planners, butlers and White House curators about dimensions and style, Mr. Allen designed the long table, which is still in use. "I think it's one of the few pieces of furniture in the White House that has a plaque on it," he said. The plaque is under the table, "but I know it's there."
Mr. Allen, whose Aunt Dess taught him how to sew, performed other feats at the White House, too. He fashioned a decorative Santa's sleigh out of a baby car seat, designed the elaborately folded tablecloths for a state dinner honoring the emperor of Japan and built a model of Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home. He also assisted Hillary Rodham Clinton's decorator, Kaki Hockersmith, who redid one of the rooms on the third floor. Ms. Hockersmith wanted to install a 20-foot-long wooden drapery rod in a room that had a solid bank of windows. "It wouldn't fit in the elevator and it wouldn't go up the staircase," Mr. Allen said. So, they tied a rope around the rod, hoisted it onto the White House roof, angled it through a window and onto the bracket.
He said he'd instantly recognize the purple and gold china ordered by Mary Todd Lincoln. The Obamas dined on a reproduction of that pattern yesterday. First ordered in 1861, the French porcelain dinner plate features a royal purple border lined with gold dots and is edged with a gold cable design. At the center, a version of the arms of the United States, which features an eagle, is painted in enamel. "Before Lincoln, there was no state service. He was the first to have officially bought a service for the White House. Everybody else brought their own and used what they had," Mr. Allen said. The $300 bill for the royal purple porcelain, which had service for 24 place settings, brought public scorn upon Mrs. Lincoln. "A big dinner, back in those days, was 24 people. A big dinner today is 140," said the former usher.
At antique shops and flea markets, Mr. Allen has collected remnants of past White House administrations, including a crystal cordial glass from the Benjamin Harrison era, a ramekin used in the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and demitasses from the tenures of Harry Truman and Theodore Roosevelt. His favorite presidential china is the cobalt blue and gold pattern chosen during Woodrow Wilson's terms.
Marylynne Pitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1648.
First published on January 20, 2009 at 10:47 pm
Sunday, February 1, 2009
These newest Inaugural items commemorating President Obama and Vice President Biden's Inauguration are available through the Presidential Inaugural Committee on their website - http://www.pic2009.org/ - then click on the 'Inaugural Store" tab.
The plates are all individually numbered and gift boxed, as are the Cup & Saucer sets. A beautifully classic design of cobalt blue, trimmed in gold, each piece has the official Inaugural seal.
Woodmere, from New Castle, Pennsylvania, is the proud producer of Inaugural items since the Carter administration. For more information, give us a call at 1-800-345-0332.