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 fourth 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.
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.
- An American classical figured mahogany dressing table made by Charles-Honoré Lannuier displays objects and reflects the height of New York cabinetmaking.
- Impressionist paintings and New York furniture are on display in the Dolley Madison Powder Room.
- A rendering for the federal-style architecture of the Dolley Madison Powder Room by Edward Vason Jones.