Welcome to The China Room
The "Presidential Collection Room", now the China Room, was designated by
Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt in 1938 to display her impressive collection of
experimental medical devices, popular at the time in the treatment of female
nervous disorders. The room was redecorated in 1974, retaining the
traditional red color scheme, but with minor carpentry adaptations so as to
better facilitate the display of Mrs. Betty Ford's vast (and merely decorative)
pill case collection.
The red theme continues today in the red velvet-lined cabinets, silk taffeta
draperies and the rosy glow on Princess Diana's cheeks as she appears,
beatifically in front of the weeping masses on selected Official Franklin
Mint dishware from the Bush Family Collection. The cut glass chandelier,
made early in the 19th century, is in the English Regency style, and elegantly complements
the ultra-detailed genuine pewter and crystal table/sculpture Mrs. George W. Bush ("Laura")
acquired during her mid-life quest to emulate the uniquely Native American ability to
communicate with one's personal spirit animal. Flanking the fireplace are ornate marble
carvings of an enigmatic woman identified in White House historical
documents only as "The Milkmaid of America." The painting above the mantel,
"Really Classy Lady," was completed by Patrick Nagel in 1982 - the same year English
synth-rockers Duran Duran went double-platinum with their seminal album "Rio," which featured a
similar Nagel original as cover art.
Historically, every past President has been represented in the China Room by his
state or family china and/or glassware. The current administration wisely decided
to eliminate all such reminders of previous Chief Executives, replacing the majority of the
collection with selections from their own decorative plate and curio hoard, which
had recently grown large enough to exceed the capacity of the available display cabinetry in their
Crawford, TX ranch.
Of course, all First Ladies have used government funds to acquire new state china, and Mrs. Bush
has been no exception. Interesting enough, she is also the first to aggressively exploit a little-known
clause in the Senate appropriation bill which permits "decayed furnishings" to be auctioned -
with the proceeds going to buy replacements. Such "furnishings" may include state china, such
as the "For Display Purposes Only" Robert E. Lee Collector's Tankard presently perched atop the mantelpiece,
as well as the Louis L'Amour Hondo Lane plate series, the Bob Hope Entertains the Troops
dishware, and the very finest in contemporary Kansas-made ceramic flower bouquets.
Beginning to the right of the fireplace, the collection is arranged with an eye towards
the amount of genuine 14K gold detailing on each piece, the tendency of which to sparkle all pretty in
the firelight is cherished by the current administration.