China from the White House to your home

China from the White House to your home

You can not buy the official White House porcelain patterns used by the President's families for entertainment. A new series of decoupage glass plates by designer John Derian and artist Katharine Barnwell show samples of six presidential administrations.

Introduced by the White House Historical Association, the line features interpretations of the president's restaurants for the Johnson, Polk, Lincoln, Grant, Reagan and Truman eras.

"People around the world have always intrigued the White House and the presidents who occupy it," said Gina Sherman, vice president of retail strategy and distribution for the Historical Association, a nonprofit organization that supports White House complements and restorations and promotes the appreciation of his past. "The White House China Room has always been my favorite. I really wanted to share that experience. Each pattern conveys a wonderful historical story. "

Over the years, many presidential administrations have commissioned special China services to be used for public lunches and other White House events. These dishes become part of the White House collection and can be used by later administrations. Sherman wanted to create a series of plates that could serve as decorative accessories, based on some of the most iconic patterns. "I chose six patterns. three from Democrats and three from Republicans, "says Sherman. "There are three floral patterns and three patriotic patterns."

A collaboration between Derian and Barnwell was forged. Barnwell, a New York-based artist known for her murals and paper designs for Caspari, painted the porcelain patterns of the White House in watercolors. "I have always loved beautiful porcelain and was fascinated by painting the plates and then taking John Derian to another dimension," says Barnwell.


Designer John Derian (Stephen Kent Johnson)

Derian, which has stores in New York's East Village and Greenwich Village, and a seasonal store in Provincetown, is known for its unmistakable style of decoupage trays, plates and paper weights, often based on old botanical prints or historical etchings. He imprinted Barnwell's images in acid-free ink on acid-free paper, cut them out, and stuck them on translucent glass plates, giving them a few coats of paint. His design for the plates was redesigned by craftsmen in his New York studio.

"I love the idea of ​​a record that looks like a record but is not a record," says Derian.

These plates are primarily decorative and not microwave or dishwasher safe. They can not be immersed in water. Derian recommends using it as a tabletop, cell phone holder or bed rest. When used as chargers or accents on a table, food can be served on them, but they can only be wiped off, not washed.

The plates are already almost sold out and have been reordered. The red Reagan porcelain has been the most popular. The plates are available in five inch (45 $) and eight inch ($ 75) sizes and contain a description of their presidential history.


A collection of glass decoupage plates inspired by official White House porcelain sets is a collaboration between designer John Derian and artist Katharine Barnwell for the White House Historical Association. Six different presidential patterns are included. Clockwise from above: Johnson, Polk and Grant. (Historical Association of the White House)

The reproduction China is much cheaper than the real thing. The Obama porcelain with a gang of "Kailua Blue" representing the waters off the coast of Hawaii cost $ 367,258 for 3,520 pieces, which were paid by the White Association Historical Association with private funds. Although Obama China was not included in these initial adjustments, it and other patterns may be available in the future.

The President's porcelain decoupage plates are available online at shop.whitehousehistory.org or in person at the White House History Shop (1610 H St. NW), the White House Visitor Center (1450 Pennsylvania Ave. NW), and the White House.

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