Bellangé bergère

Patrick P writes about the Monroe-era bergère chair in the Blue Room, noting that pic I have on that page is outdated now, since the chair has since been reupholstered properly with a separate cushion (as seen here). He offers a link to this interesting article on the subject. I’m adding a page for it.

I added a capture of the black and white image from that article, but it would be nice to have a good color picture of the chair as it is today, so be on the lookout.

10 thoughts on “Bellangé bergère

  1. Excellent – and facinating – article – these chairs get constant use and have to be reupholstered a lot more often than chairs in a normal home setting. Soon there would be nothing left of the original wood “fabric” of the chairs to tack new upholstery fabric to! I remember seeing an article in the magazine “Antiques” two or three years back, outlining a similar conservation program for the furniture in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the State Department.

    Sometimes, I think if I had it to do all over again, I would leave architecture on the shelf and be a furniture conservator. Thanks so much for sharing this article!

  2. Oh, I forgot – Derek, for a color pic of the Bellange “bergere”, with the seperate cushion, check out page 61 of Betty Monkman’s book “The White House,its Historic Furnishings and First Families”.

    Hmmmmm.. I might also have one saved in “My Pictures”, on my computer. Hold on…

  3. You may remember that I noticed the
    Bellange sofa had been replaced with the 1902 TR white and gold in a 2006 photo of the Blue Room Christmas tree. I would guess that it was being reupholstered/conserved too.

  4. You may remember that I noticed the
    Bellange sofa had been replaced with the 1902 TR white and gold in a 2006 photo of the Blue Room Christmas tree. I would guess that it was being reupholstered/conserved too.

  5. During the Kennedy Administration alone, the Bellange chairs (original and copied) were reupholstered three times between 1961 and 1963 (Truman era silk, Scalamandre plain blue, then Tassinari et Chatel eagle medallion silk). The seat furniture was again recovered in 1972 (Nixon), 1985 (Reagan renewal) and then in 1995 for the Clinton refurbishing.

  6. Jacqueline Kennedy also used the TR white and gold chairs (covered in red) in the Cross Hall. The white and gold chairs were replaced by Bellange originals/reproductions. The White and gold had been used in the Blue Room since the days of TR. One of them is on display at the White House Visitors Center along with a sample of the current Blue Room wallpaper.

  7. Does anyone know who made the copies of the Bellange originals (that are still in the Blue Room )back in 1961/62? Jackie mentions in the White House tour that Charles Francis Adams, who was a descendant of John and John Q. Adams underwrote the cost of having this done and I’ve always wondered who copied those chairs. Maybe the W. H. Curator’s office would know. There is a rumor that one of the original curule (X- legged) stools is in the hands of a private collector in the Washington D.C. area, but I don’t know who it is. Too bad we no longer have Mrs. Onassis to “wheedle it out of him…”. She was good at that…

  8. I have always been disappointed that the Blue Room TR white and gold chairs were removed from the Cross Hall and replaced with the current chairs. As beautiful as those are, I have always thought that the TR chairs were a real part of White House History and were appropriately used elsewhere after having been removed from the Blue Room. I would say the same thing about Harriet Lane’s ottoman that is also on display at the White House visitors center. Some of these older furnishings are so identified with the White House that it would be good to still see them there. But do I know where I would put that ottoman? No.

  9. For a number of years the ottoman was in the China Room. According to Elaine Rice and John Abbot in Designing Camelot Mrs. Kennedy had planned to “revise” the ottoman and include it in her refurbshment of the China Room. I don’t know if it was ever completed or what happened to the original ottoman. It is possible it’s in storage somewhere although this would be a nice item to put on display at the White House Visitors Center.

  10. The ottoman is, in fact, on display in the White House Visitors Center on Pennsylvania Avenue. I do remember seeing it in pictures of the China Room.

    At the same time, the Grant cabinet table was placed in the Vermeil Room.

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