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The 9 Most Beautiful Examples of White House China

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Apr 06, 2017 @ 10:30 AM

Everyone knows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But picking favorites among the many collections of stunning Official White House China is no mere beauty contest. For renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx, it’s about the art – and the fact that the magnificence of each service also reflects the context of its time.

“In a portrait gallery,” he explains, “you walk into a room filled with masterpieces yet you’re drawn to certain one(s) that move you, like a song that makes you feel something.” asked to name his White House china favorites, he chose nine, noting it was “easy” to identify the first four, but hard to decide beyond that because each collection is outstanding in its own way. This is the countdown of his nine favorite White House China examples.

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STUNNING 1951 SERVICE PLATE FROM THE HARRY S. TRUMAN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY LENOX - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTIONS HERE

#9. Harry S. Truman

Similar in many ways to Woodrow Wilson’s White House China, the Truman collection exudes overall elegance. The richly-patterned green, gold, deep ivory and white provide an aesthetically appropriate harmony for official state dinners. This service is historically important because it depicts the federal eagle as “reversed” by Truman’s Executive Order in 1945, showing the eagle facing the olive branch of peace rather than the arrows of war.

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PRISTINE EXAMPLE OF A DESSERT PLATE FROM THE 1846 JAMES K. POLK OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY EDOUARD D. HONORE - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

#8. James Polk

Though more subtle than the surprising shapes of the Hayes china, the ornately scalloped plates are themselves works of art, reflecting a different artist’s imagination. They create a visual frame for the extensive gilded designs as well as beautifully hand-painted flowers on the dessert plates – 36 flowers to denote the 36 states in the Union. With this china, a new presidential shield is depicted for the first time in red, white and blue.

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ELEGANT HAND-PAINTED DESSERT PLATE FROM 1879 RUTHEFORD B. HAYES OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY HAVILAND & CO - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

#7. Rutherford B. Hayes

There is nothing subtle about the unusual plate shapes in this White House China collection. “You either like it, or you don’t,” says Mr. Amyx. Each plate seems to have been designed to frame its colorfully detailed, hand-painted wildlife. The non-traditional aspects of this china extend to the always-present presidential emblem – it is equally colorful, but appears only on the verso. Pieces from the original 1879 order are most collectible. Although the “cypher” on the verso was supposedly rendered in red, white and blue, it appears to be gold, turquoise and orange. ”

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GORGEOUS BREAKFAST PLATE FROM THE 1891 BENJAMIN HARRISON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY TRESSEMANES AND VOGT - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

#6. Benjamin Harrison

First Lady Caroline Scott Harrison was a very talented artist, and it is her, in part, own artwork that adorns the border of this striking White House China. In fact, it is so pretty, subsequent presidents chose to reorder the same pattern rather than make any changes. That makes some Harrison china easier for collectors to locate. However, the pièce de résistance among this collection is the rarer and more valuable morning breakfast plate that features a double border.

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LOVELY STATE DINNER PLATE FROM THE 1869 ULYSSES S. GRANT OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY HAVILAND & COMPANY - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

#5. Ulysses S. Grant

With this extraordinary china, the subtly scalloped edges of the plates offer a distinctive design element. But the large, beautifully detailed flowers are the main presence – 24 in all, allowing each place setting at smaller dinner gatherings to be different. This dinnerware also introduces a new presidential emblem, again chosen by the artist and approved by President and/or Mrs. Grant.

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BEAUTIFUL SERVICE PLATE FROM THE 1968 LYNDON B. JOHNSON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY CASTLETON CHINA - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

#4. Lyndon Baines Johnson

Lady Bird Johnson used her influence as First Lady to promote beautification of America’s roadsides through planting wildflowers. The state china she helped design reflects that same theme – not only pretty but perhaps a floral political statement as well. "Photos simply do not do this china justice," notes Mr. Amyx. He admits he especially loves the eagle, which borrows from Monroe and Lincoln depictions.

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IMPECCABLE STATE DINNER SERVICE PLATE FROM THE 1981 RONALD REAGAN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY LENOX - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

#3. Ronald Reagan

This china’s extraordinary creativity and beauty show in the bold scarlet border (Nancy Reagan’s favorite color), bounded by gold cross-hatching on the service and dessert plates. "The color and design are both striking, like a lady in a perfect red dress," yet they take their inspiration from artistic elements in early White House China patterns.

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CLASSIC STATE DINNER PLATE FROM THE 1861 ABRAHAM LINCOLN OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY HAVILAND & COMPANY - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

#2. Abraham Lincoln

Presidents are America’s version of royalty, so this china also features a variation of Royal Purple – in this case a rich, warm tone called Solferino, chosen personally by Mary Todd Lincoln. This stunning china carries forward the Monroe eagle to represent the president, but now the eagle holds arrows of war and an olive branch of peace and is accompanied by a banner that reads “E Pluribus Unum.”

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PRISTINE DESSERT PLATE FROM THE JAMES MONROE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION CIRCA 1820 - MANUFACTURED BY DAGOYT AND HONORE - BOTH PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

#1. James Monroe

This was the first time an American president had a Congressionally-approved budget to buy china for formal White House occasions. Previous presidents had brought their personal dinnerware with them, so there was no precedent regarding what constituted “officially appropriate” china. "What should the presidential emblem look like? The Monroe service, like several other early designs, is presidential china as seen through the eyes of the artist." Every detail imagined and hand-painted, from the unusual marbled purplish-blue border to the bald eagle with widespread wings.

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR

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.

BUY, SHARE, OR TRADE WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

 

Tags: Lyndon B. Johnson, White House China, Ulysses S. Grant, James K. Polk, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, Harry S. Truman, James Monroe, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison

Who's the Real Artist Behind the Benjamin Harrison White House China?

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 @ 10:30 AM

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BENJAMIN HARRISON (1833-1901)
OUR 23RD PRESIDENT (1889-1893)

Throughout history, the First Lady has been responsible for the “domestic” side of the presidency, overseeing household and entertaining details. So while it is true that a few of our past presidents have chosen their own official china service, most often this task has fallen to their First Ladies.

In the case of Benjamin Harrison’s official White House China, his First Lady did much more than “take a hand” in the process of choosing a design and manufacturer. Caroline Scott Harrison was an accomplished artist in her own right – well-known for her water color studies and, in particular, her love of china painting. It is her own work that adorns the ultimate china of her era – the Benjamin Harrison White House collection.

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CAPTIVATING STATE DINNER PLATE WITH HANDSOME BLUE BAND FROM THE HARRISON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
SEE MORE WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTIONS HERE

The beautiful plates feature a scalloped edge, narrow gilt rim and wide band of dark blue that sets off illustrations of corn and goldenrod. The sketches are done in gold, reflecting their natural color. There is an interior circlet of small gold stars, and the traditional Presidential eagle sits at the center of the plate. There aren’t any notes to tell us definitively, but perhaps the corn and goldenrod motifs were chosen to represent America’s heartland.

Caroline Scott Harrison continued to paint during her tenure as First Lady, and even taught china painting classes in the White House. She also worked to upgrade the Executive Mansion, to make it a more contemporary, comfortable living space. Yet, as a history lover, she was careful to preserve existing collections of furniture, as well as household glassware, silver and dinnerware used by past presidents. Decades later, Jacqueline Kennedy often chose the Harrison china for use at official state dinners.

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FIRST LADY CAROLINE SCOTT HARRISON (1832-1892)
AN AVID LOVER OF MUSIC, ART, AND HISTORY

While his wife made an impressive artistic contribution to the White House, President Benjamin Harrison’s own legacy was less impressive. Benjamin Harrison was born, raised and worked as an attorney in Indianapolis before entering politics and moving to Washington, DC to serve as our 23rd president. During his single term of office, from 1889 to 1893, he accomplished little of note. He signed into law the Sherman Antitrust Act, but it was not effective until it was strengthened in later years. He advocated voting rights for African Americans in the South, but not successfully. He did establish Samoa as an American protectorate, and he worked with Canada and Great Britain to reduce hunting of seals in the Bering Sea.

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GORGEOUS BREAKFAST PLATE WITH GOLDEN ROD TRIM FROM THE 1892 BENJAMIN HARRISON OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

At least Benjamin Harrison inhabited the White House long enough to make his own contribution to the ever-growing collection of presidential china. His grandfather, William Henry Harrison, was not so fortunate. Elected as our nation’s 6th president, the elder Harrison died just one month into his term.

And while his administration may have been lackluster, Benjamin Harrison did leave us with a timely quote: “An American citizen could not be a good citizen who did not have a hope in his heart.”

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

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.

BUY, SHARE, OR TRADE WHITE HOUSE CHINA AND PRESIDENTIAL CHINA

 

Tags: White House China, Benjamin Harrison

Benjamin Harrison: An Electrifying Term of Office

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Feb 25, 2016 @ 01:57 PM

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BENJAMIN HARRISON (1833-1901)
OUR 23RD PRESIDENT (1889-1893)

Nothing changes our perspective like advancements in technology. Now, in the 21st century, it’s hard to imagine a time when a setting as influential as the White House didn’t even have electricity. Such a simple technology -- something we take for granted today but something new and wondrous as President Benjamin Harrison was ascending to office.

It was our 23rd president who brought that new-fangled technology to the White House, about halfway through his term and just ten years after electric lighting was introduced to the public.

Bringing electricity to the White House in 1891 was something of a daring move. Because the technology was so new, it wasn’t widely accepted as a true replacement for “old-fashioned” lamps. But Benjamin Harrison had money to spend -- he was the first president to get a $1 billion budget passed by Congress. Funding was available not only to electrify the White House but to install electrical wiring in the adjacent State, War & Navy building as well.

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CAPTIVATING STATE DINNER PLATE FROM THE HARRISON WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION - MANUFACTURED BY TRESSEMANES AND VOGT, LIMOGES - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION.
SEE MORE OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE CHINA HERE.

The retrofit involved burying wires in the plaster walls, then installing round switches in each room. The work was done by Irwin H. “Ike” Hoover, a young employee at the equally young Edison General Electric Company. As it turned out, once he completed the wiring projects Ike stayed on as part of the White House staff – for 42 years.

Although Benjamin Harrison showed great leadership in bringing electricity to the White House, he and his wife were reportedly afraid of being electrocuted. According to stories, they reportedly wouldn’t touch the light switches, preferring to simply leave the lights on at night. However, historians suggest that this story is unlikely. Instead, the President and First Lady more likely left it to their domestic staff to turn the lights on and off.

Benjamin Harrison holds another presidential technology first, too. In 1889, a 36-second speech was recorded in his voice on a wax phonograph cylinder, making his the first presidential voice to be preserved for posterity.

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BEAUTIFUL BREAKFAST PLATE FROM THE HARRISON WHITE HOUSE CHINA COLLECTION FEATURES A DELICATELY HAND-PAINTED CORN AND GOLDENROD TRIM - PART OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION.

Since Harrison’s presidency, other Chief Executives have scored technology firsts. James Polk’s inauguration was the first to be reported live via telegraph. Rutherford B. Hayes installed the first telephone in the White House. (Perhaps not surprisingly, the phone number was 1.) But it took another half-century before the President’s desk in the Oval Office sported a phone, installed at Herbert Hoover’s request.

Bill Clinton was the first president to create an official White House website and use email, and President Obama transformed social media technology into a must-have campaigning tool during his first election.

It’s interesting to speculate how this progression of White House technology leadership might have been different had Benjamin Harrison not taken that first “radical” step back in 1891 to bring the latest innovation to the White House.

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

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.

SELECT PRESIDENTIAL ITEMS TO BE OFFERED

 

Tags: Benjamin Harrison

President Benjamin Harrison - Grandson of a President

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 @ 08:00 AM

Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President of the United States, was not the first government official in his distinguished family. His father, John Scott Harrison, served in the United States House of Representatives, his grandfather was the 9th President of the United States, William Henry Harrison, and his great-grandfather, Colonel Benjamin Harrison V, was among the Continental Congress delegates who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Either by design or by choice, Benjamin Harrison pursued no other ambition as strongly as his desire to contribute to the growth of our young nation.  He developed an effective public speaking style early on which served him well in law and as a Union brevet brigadier general in the Civil War. Harrison’s political career began with his election to Indianapolis city attorney in 1857. Later Benjamin Harrison ran unsuccessfully for Indiana governor and was appointed to the United States Senate where he served from 1881 to 1887.

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BENJAMIN HARRISON - OUR 23RD PRESIDENT

Harrison proposed to Caroline Scott shortly after college. They married in 1853 and had two children, Russell Benjamin Harrison and Mary Scott Harrison. Mrs. Harrison was very outgoing and thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment opportunities that came with public life. It has been reported that she was the first to put up a Christmas tree at the White House.

During the presidential campaign of 1888, Benjamin Harrison and his opponent, incumbent President Grover Cleveland, used front porch receptions to communicate their campaign message to delegations and press reporters. This strategy proved very effective. Party organizers spread their message on their behalf. Although Harrison beat Cleveland in Electoral College votes, Cleveland won the popular vote. It was alleged that New York Electoral College Delegates had been bribed by Harrison supporters.

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WHITE HOUSE CHINA CHOSEN BY FIRST LADY CAROLINE SCOTT HARRISON - ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Of the many things that Benjamin Harrison achieved in office, he is often remembered for:

  • Contributing to America’s role as world leader by establishing the first Pan American Congress in 1889. This later became the Pan American Union.
  • Responding to an incident involving an assault on American sailors by threatening military action on Chile. To resolve the conflict peacefully, Chile apologized and paid the US a sum of $75,000.
  • Creating national forests with the Land Revision Act of 1891, the first of which was Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
  • Designating Ellis Island in the New York Harbor as the official entry point of immigrants entering the United States during a time of significant population growth.
  • Limiting the power of American corporations by supporting the Sherman Antitrust Act.
  • Protecting and extending the rights of African Americans such as securing voting rights in the South. President Harrison also appointed Frederick Douglass as minister to Haiti.
  • Standing up to Great Britain and Canada on the matter of overharvesting of fur seals in the Bering Sea.
  • Supporting the highest protective tariff in the nation's history, via the McKinley Tariff of 1890 which raised rates nearly 50% and gave the President power to negotiate foreign trade without congressional approval.
  • Lobbying for the passage of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 which required the US Treasury to either purchase 4.5 million ounces of silver at market price or the entire output of the nation's mines every month.
  • Appropriating bills that exceeded one billion dollars, the first time that had occurred during peacetime.
  • Sending federal troops to the Battle of Wounded Knee in a dispute with the Sioux Indians - to this day a horrendous result.
  • Expanding the borders of the United States more than any previous administration with the addition of Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and the Dakotas.

Unlike many of his predecessors, President Benjamin Harrison had accomplished many different objectives while in office. Because some of his initiatives had been perceived to contribute to the nation’s unfavorable economic condition, it was not difficult for his opponent, former President Grover Cleveland, to claim a landslide victory over him in the election of 1892 when the Democratic Party had claimed presidency and a majority in both houses of Congress. The magnitude of Harrison’s loss was attributed, to some degree, to his focus on his wife who was critically ill and died in the following months. After leaving office, Benjamin Harrison spent the next decade as a respected statesman and public speaker before he passed away in 1901 from pneumonia.

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HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired pieces from President Benjamin Harrison and Caroline Scott Harrison’s official White House China Collection. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical memorabilia has been his sole focus for more than three decades. His collection is the second largest privately-owned collection of White House 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.

ATTN: COLLECTORS OR RETIRED LENOX, PICKARD,  CASTLETON, TIFFANY, WEDGWOOD,  AND WHITE HOUSE EMPLOYEES.  SELL YOUR WHITE HOUSE CHINA.

 

Tags: White House China, Benjamin Harrison

BENJAMIN HARRISON WHITE HOUSE CHINA IN RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX COLLECTION

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Thu, Apr 14, 2011 @ 09:22 AM

The Official White House China Selection by President Benjamin Harrison became an Important Statement by this late 19th Century First Family. At last, there was to be an organized system of keeping permanent track of just exactly what was to become The Standard of The White House China Collection as we know it today.

benjamin harrison white house china,raleigh degeer amyx,the raleigh degeer amyx collection,A STUNNING SELECTION BY THE PRESIDENT & MRS. BENJAMIN HARRISON IS THIS 9.5 INCH DINNER PLATE

The Presidential China Selections shared here are from The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection (a.k.a.) The American Heritage Collection. The Amyx Collection is currently recognized as the second finest, privately owned, Official White House China Collection in the World.

raleigh degeer amyx,white house china,the raleigh degeer amyx collection,HISTORIAN & COLLECTOR - RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX 2010

Benjamin and Caroline Scott Harrison, in 1892, selected the featured 9.5" enchanting State Dinner Plate - manufactured by Tressemanes & Vogt, Limoges. Caroline Scott Harrison's arrival to The White House, in 1889, brought to the position of First Lady a Gifted woman of many Cultural Interests.

caroline scott harrison,raleigh degeer amyx,white house china,A GIFTED FIRST LADY - CAROLINE SCOTT HARRISON

The First Lady had an appreciation of Historical Relics connected with White House History. And it was The First Lady's ambition to make The White House a comfortable and stylish residence for a President while at the same time preserving furniture, silver, glass and China of Past Administrations. Mrs. Harrison was also a Gifted Artist in her own right who especially delighted in China Painting. And now First Lady Harrison was ready to make a Dynamic Statement about her own Contribution to The White House China Collection. And Caroline Scott Harrison did do - in a Major Way. But Sadly this Lovely Lady Passed away, in The White House, from Brights Disease, on October 25, 1892.

benjamin harrison white house china,raleigh degeer amyx,the raleigh degeer amyx collection,A VIVID CLOSE-UP OF THE GORGEOUS CENTER SEAL AS SELECTED BY THE FIRST FAMILY IN 1892

benjamin harrison white house china,raleigh degeer amyx,the raleigh degeer amyx collection,A BREATHTAKING VIEW OF THE RIM OF THE WHITE HOUSE CHINA DINNER PLATE OF THE FIRST FAMILY

white house china,benjamin harrison white house china,raleigh degeer amyx,ALTHOUGH THERE ARE VARIANCES WHEN IT COMES TO PRESIDENT BENJAMIN HARRISON'S VERSO MARKINGS THIS EXAMPLE DOES GIVE A FAIR EXAMPLE OF ONE OF THOSE USED

In 1891, The Harrison's also added additional Elegance of the First Order, with the selection of this Beautiful 8.5" Breakfast Plate.  Tastefully, The First lady selected, for her Breakfast Plate, a white and blue border trimmed in Goldenrod which somehow was Artistically traced in Gold along the border of this Gorgeous Selection. In addition Caroline Scott Harrison was an Avid China Painter and she became one of the most involved First Ladies in the arena of The White House China Collection. This creative First Lady even held China Painting Classes, as she enthusiastically instructed her attentive pupils, within The Executive Mansion itself.

raleigh degeer amyx,benjamin harrison white house china,the raleigh degeer amyx collection,THE BEAUTIFULLY DETAILED 8X5" BREAKFAST PLATE AS SELECTED BY CAROLINE SCOTT HARRISON IN 1892

benjamin harrison,raleigh degeer amyx,white house china,BENJAMIN HARRISON - THE PRESIDENT IN 1892

 


 


Tags: White House China, The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection, Olympics, Benjamin Harrison

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