Was it an unfortunate delay or clever timing that caused the Official George W. Bush White House China to arrive just two weeks before President Bush left office? At the time, First Lady Laura Bush told reporters, “These have been in the works for several years, and it took longer than we thought.” But some White House watchers suggest the last-minute unveiling – on January 7, 2009 -- helped avoid media questions about the cost, as the Reagans were also subjected to.
In fact, George and Laura Bush were the only First Couple in history to employ what punsters at the Washington Post called a “two-china policy.” Not only did Laura commission a new 320-piece set of state china (at a cost of just under $500,000 - at no cost to the American tax payer), she ordered an entirely different set of dishes for use exclusively in the residential dining room on the second floor of the White House. Previous presidents and their families and personal guests always dined off the same dinnerware as official state visitors.
STUNNING SERVICE PLATE, FROM THE GEORGE W. BUSH OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION, FEATURES A GREEN CROSS-HATCHED PATTERN DERIVED FROM THE MADISON FAMILY CHINA - MANUFACTURED BY LENOX
SEE MORE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.
Those 75 private residence place settings cost an additional $75,000. Both dinnerware sets were paid for by the White House Historical Association Acquisition Trust, again, at no cost to the American tax payer.
The First Lady chose Lenox, often considered America’s leading manufacturer of fine china, to create the official tableware for use in the State Dining Room and the East Room. This was the first full set of White House China commissioned since 1982, and it was badly needed. The George W. Bush administration had only the Reagan and Clinton dishes to choose from, if state dinners totaled 134 people and matching dishes were required.
VERSO INSCRIPTION ON THE DISHES FROM THE BUSH'S OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION
The Bush collection plates are bordered in a soft shade of green with basket-weave pattern and a circle of laurel leaves, inspired by the pattern on James and Dolley Madison’s personal dinnerware. There is a gold eagle in the center, the motif taken from an eagle inlay in a sideboard once owned by Daniel Webster. Chargers in the set state “The White House 2008 Lenox, made in the U.S.A.” on the verso. Mrs. Bush worked with the White House floral designer to choose the colors. They chose muted green instead of the usual bold colors, because it would complement any type of flower arrangement. Mrs. Bush also liked the fact that the color would coordinate nicely at Christmas.
FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH INTRODUCING THE TIMELESS BUSH OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA PATTERN
The Bush White House China made its debut at a luncheon held to honor United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. President George and Laura hardly had a chance to enjoy their new china, however, having used “old” dinnerware throughout their time at the White House. Later, Laura Bush revealed that her husband’s favorites were Lady Bird Johnson’s dishes that featured American wildflowers, whereas she was most partial to the red-bordered Reagan china.
For the smaller residential (not Offical White House China) china service, Mrs. Bush chose Pickard China, another American manufacturer. These dishes were designed by Hungarian-born Anna Weatherly, and they were hand-painted in Hungary by her own craftspeople. Large magnolia blossoms honor a magnolia tree which has been part of the White House landscape since Andrew Jackson’s day. It is believed to be the oldest tree on the White House lawn.
MANUFACTURED BY PICKARD, THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF THE EVERYDAY (NOT OFFICAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA) CHINA SELECTED BY FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH AS EXPLAINED ABOVE THIS IMAGE
World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House China. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China and Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.