Diplomatic Reception Rooms

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The Martha Washington Ladies LoungeThe John Quincy Adams State Drawing Room
A tranquil and dignified space, the Dolley Madison Powder Room exudes the warmth of its namesake.

A Setting for Diplomacy

The Dolley Madison Room is a welcoming space, inspired by the hospitality of Dolley Madison, who was famous for her gracious entertaining at the White House when her husband, James, was the nation’s third president. The room was designed by Edward Vason Jones to reflect the Federal style of architecture that was fashionable during the first two decades of the 19th century.

Historical Furnishings

This room’s color scheme of cream, pink, and silver blue is derived from its handwoven rug and is repeated in the silk wall coverings and upholstery. The seating furniture, arranged around a recessed alcove, seems to encourage quiet conversation. The furnishings are a superb collection by New York’s finest cabinetmakers of the era, including Duncan Phyfe. On one wall is a New York dressing table made in the Empire style by Charles-Honoré Lannuier. Both Phyfe, from Scotland, and Lannuier, from France, brought skills and styles from Europe to America when they set up their cabinetmaking shops in New York. The room is illuminated by a 19th-century American bronze chandelier as well as a pair of Empire-style bronze candelabra.  

Completing the restful atmosphere of the Dolley Madison Power Room are Impressionist paintings by Childe Hassam and Edmund C. Tarbell. Like the cabinetmakers, these artists learned their techniques in Europe, but their subjects are distinctly American. They picture New England streets and clapboard houses in the dappled light of summer. These tranquil settings, rendered in pastel colors, enhance the sense of quiet dignity that pervades this special room.

Virtual Tour

The Dolley Madison State Dining Room
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The Architect

Edward Vason Jones
Edward Vason Jones mastered the tradition of architectural classicism, and composed the vision to transform the Diplomatic Reception Rooms into extraordinary tableaus that reflect the height of early American fine and decorative arts.
The Work of Edward Vason Jones

Named in Honor of

Dolley Madison
This room honors the legacy of one of our nation’s most famous first ladies, known for the warm hospitality that she brought to her role.
Read the Biography
Dolley Madison's Hand-Written Monogram
Dolley Madison's Hand-Written Monogram

Objects in This Room

Landscape With Steeple

Landscape With Steeple

Hassam, Childe
1900
oil on canvas laid down on board
The Holley Farm

The Holley Farm

Hassam, Childe
1902
pastel on paper
Streets of Provincetown

Streets of Provincetown

Hassam, Childe
1900
oil on canvas
Listening to the Orchard Oriole

Listening to the Orchard Oriole

Hassam, Childe
1902
oil on canvas
American Classical Carved and Figured Mahogany Card Table

American Classical Carved and Figured Mahogany Card Table

Unknown
ca. 1805-1820
wood; mahogany; mahogany veneer; satinwood veneer
American Classical Carved Mahogany and Canned Grecian Sofa

American Classical Carved Mahogany and Canned Grecian Sofa

Shop of Duncan Phyfe
ca. 1810-1820
wood; mahogany; mahogany veneer; cherry; soft maple
American Classical Carved Mahogany Chairs

Pair of American Classical Carved Mahogany Side Chairs

Shop of Duncan Phyfe
ca. 1800-1810
wood; mahogany; cherry; eastern white pine
American Classical Figured Mahogany Dressing Table

American Classical Figured Mahogany Dressing Table

Lannuier, Charles-Honoré
ca. 1810-1819
wood; mahogany; mahogany veneer; eastern white pine; yellow-poplar; glass
The Letter

The Letter

Tarbell, Edmund C.
1915
oil on canvas
Chinese Porcelain Blue and White Charger

Chinese Porcelain Blue and White Charger

Unknown
Ming dynasty; ca. 1500
ceramic; porcelain