American Presidential China
The Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Imprint: Yale University Press
The china used by the First Families, both at the White House and in their private homes, reveals a fascinating story of culture and society as it has evolved in the United States since its early days. In this handsome book, which documents over 200 rare items in the remarkably comprehensive Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Collection, a beautiful display of tableware unfolds as readers learn of trends in taste, style, and modes of entertaining, from George Washington to Ronald Reagan.
Among the featured objects are Washington’s white-and-gold Sèvres porcelain that he purchased from a French diplomat recalled at the outbreak of the French Revolution; James Monroe’s gilt-edged French porcelain service, the first state service commissioned by the White House in 1817; and John F. Kennedy’s understated Wedgwood creamware used at his Georgetown home. Collectors and historians will value the information on how the pieces were commissioned, designed, manufactured, and imported.