Diplomatic Reception Rooms

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Web Property of the U.S. Department of State

The James Monroe State Reception RoomThe Henry Clay State Dining Room
This State Room celebrates the era of James Madison in both its architecture and the historic collections it contains.

A Setting for Diplomacy

The James Madison State Dining Room, named for the nation’s fourth president, was designed by the architect Walter M. Macomber in 1983 for luncheons and other official functions when the number of guests is small. For informal discussions, there is a comfortable seating area in front of a bay framed by Doric columns. Through the long windows guests enjoy sweeping views of the Lincoln Memorial and National Mall. Furnishings in the room relate to the first decades of the 19th century, when Madison served as Thomas Jefferson’s secretary of state and then as president.

The James Madison State Dining Room before and after its architectural transformation.

Historical Furnishings

A focal point of the room is a sculptural relief of Madison carved in marble by the celebrated sculptor Giuseppe Ceracchi. This profile bust was presented to Dolley Madison at the time of her wedding and was cherished by her until her death in 1849. She considered it the truest likeness ever created of her husband, and today it is a national treasure. Beneath the profile stands a Federal mahogany sideboard from the USS Constitution. George Washington named the frigate in 1797 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Constitution, but it was affectionately called “Old Ironsides” for its success in defeating British warships during the War of 1812. Side chairs made in Salem, Massachusetts, line the walls of the room. Their carved chair backs feature the eagle that is the symbol of the United States, the centerpiece of the nation’s Great Seal.

Virtual Tour

The James Madison State Dining Room
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The Architect

Walter Macomber
Walter Mayo Macomber was one of the deans of restoration architecture and built a national reputation for his renovations of some of the nation’s most treasured historic properties.
The Work of Walter Macomber

Named in Honor of

James Madison
This State Room is named for the author of the Bill of Rights and the Father of the Constitution, who served our nation both as Secretary of State and later as president.
Read the Biography
Portrait of James Madison
Portrait of James Madison
Charles Bird King after Joseph Wood
1826
Oil on canvas

Objects in This Room

High-Relief Profile Bust of James Madison

High-Relief Profile Bust of James Madison

Ceracchi, Giuseppe
1794
stone; alabaster mounted on marble
Federal Inlaid and Figured Mahogany Library Bookcase

Federal Inlaid and Figured Mahogany Library Bookcase

Seymour, John
ca. 1805-1815
wood; mahogany; cherry; birch; eastern white pine
Federal Inlaid and Figured Mahogany Tall Case Clock

Federal Inlaid and Figured Mahogany Tall Case Clock

Chandler, Timothy
ca. 1800-1810
wood; mahogany; mahogany veneer; eastern white pine
Federal Inlaid Mahogany Card Table

Federal Inlaid Mahogany Card Table

Unknown
1790-1820
wood; mahogany; mahogany veneer; light- and dark-wood inlay; satinwood; eastern white pine; cherry; hickory
One of Seven Federal Carved Mahogany Square-Back Side Chairs

One of Seven Federal Carved Mahogany Square-Back Side Chairs

Unknown
ca. 1800-1815
wood; mahogany; birch; soft maple; eastern white pine
Federal Figured and Inlaid Mahogany Sideboard from the U.S. Frigate Constitution

Federal Figured and Inlaid Mahogany Sideboard from the U.S. Frigate Constitution

Unknown
ca. 1790
wood; mahogany; pine
Chinese Export Porcelain Green Fitzhugh Rectangular Soup Tureen, Cover and Underplate Made for the American Market

Chinese Export Porcelain Green Fitzhugh Rectangular Soup Tureen, Cover and Underplate Made for the American Market

Unknown
20th century
ceramic; porcelain
A Boating Party, The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C

A Boating Party

Doughty, Thomas
1837
oil on canvas
Regency Giltwood Convex Mirror

Regency Giltwood Convex Mirror

Unknown
ca. 1800-1820
wood; eastern white pine; sylvestris pine; spruce; basswood or lime; gilt
View of Niagara Falls and Terrapin Tower from the American Side

View of Niagara Falls and Terrapin Tower from the American Side

Richardt, Ferdinand
ca. 1857-1860
oil on canvas
American Silver Five-Piece Tea and Coffee Service

American Silver Five-Piece Tea and Coffee Service

Crawford, John
1815-1820
metal; silver
One from a Pair of George III Colorless Cut-Glass Three-Light Wall Sconces

One from a Pair of George III Colorless Cut-Glass Three-Light Wall Sconces

Unknown
ca. 1775-1815
glass
Coffeepot from an Assembled American Silver Six-Piece Tea and Coffee Service

Coffeepot from an Assembled American Silver Six-Piece Tea and Coffee Service

Eoff & Shepard
1857
metal; silver