19 thoughts on “Cabinet Room lamps

  1. Be sure and click on the video link (that’s really a white house link anyways) that shows the tour of the new cabinet room. Cool!

  2. Of course you realize that all this “light fixture” business will make it that much harder for the president’s offices to move back into the Residence when it comes time to tear down the temporary West Wing? 🙂

    I think that would be an ideal place to put really, really big glass greenhouses, so there would be a nice place to perambulate after State Dinners…

    Actually, I’m still trying to decide if I really like the new (old) fixtures. My Southern psyche will only process so much change per decade. I’ve already admitted that “Victorian” – and the new Lincoln Bedroom are worthy… and now this constant, relentless change!!! What to do?!

  3. The more I read about the 1902 renovation, the more whistful I am for the conservatories. If only Caroline Harrison had scaled back her plans, she could have had small conservatories on the east side, attached to a two-story wing with art hall and cloak room. On the west side, a large two-story executive wing would stretch south to cover the same size area. Instead, her three-story, four-sided monolith was shot down.

    Another option: put conservatories in Lafayette Square. It wouldn’t have been as convenient for an after-dinner stroll, but it would have maintained the vital Victorian flower supply.

  4. Actually – even though these new fixtures took me by surprise when I saw them in WHITE HOUSE HISTORY a few issues ago, I think it was an interesting move to have them reproduced. I really like those sketches that Eric Gugler did of the new “corner” Oval Office and Cabinet Room for Roosevelt (even though I recall that he drew chandeliers in the Cabinet Room) – that was an interesting period in West Wing history – and the sort-of Art Moderne new (old) Cabinet Room light fixtures DO fit in with the decidedly Moderne indirect cove lighting in the Oval Office.

    Perhaps a massive Philco Radio console in the O.O. would complete the look… 🙂

  5. What are you guys on?

    I am intrigued by the fact that President Nixon bought the cabinet table.

    I also think it interesting that instead of keeping a general colonial look, they are thinking back to the actual time of construction. Art Moderne was very obvious in the West Wing when FDR rebuilt it. Perhaps this ties in with the return of Harriet’s ottoman.

  6. I’m glad you guys are wistful for the return of the greenhouses. I’m with Teddy Roosevelt, “take them down and smash them into a million pieces”–oh yeah that’s what he said about the Tiffany Screen in the entrance hall too.

    I think it’s ironic Congress didn’t want to approve TR’s plans for the West Wing–they thought it was too distracting from the residence. I think Truman was given the same excuse with his extension plans. I guess there weren’t many around from the turn of the century that remembered the greenhouses–now they were distracting.

  7. If there is one thing I could bring abck from teh Victorian age, it would be the front doors to the north. They were beutiful and fitting for a house like that. Unlike the ones of today which are essentially plain old swinging glass. The president’s house should not be lowered to having the same kind of front door as my local 7/11.

  8. I’m actually with TR too – I was kidding about the greenhouses – I think they moved them to the Capitol grounds – or some of them anyway.

    I plead temporary insanity – I’m in an anti-hystamine stupor – the pollen here is incredible (hasn’t rained in ages) and I have a wicked sinus infection.


  9. Well the president still has about 20 sqare feet worth of greenhosues on the third floor to stroll around in. I suppose he can just walk back and forth.

  10. I agree with anonymous about the doors. I too have never liked the idea of the current doors. I think something a little more ornate should be at the White House.

  11. If you check out the pictures of the front door looking from inside the Entrance Hall you can see the colored measuring tape on both sides of the doors for measuring the height of fleeing robbers.

  12. I’m sure the Tiffany windows and doors were all smashed and disposed of, but what a treasure it would be to have one just for display in the Visitors Center.

    That’s another reason the White House needs a museum–a place to send that sort of thing for posterity.

  13. I think I read somewhere the Tiffany Screen that was in the entrance hall was sold to a hotel, but the hotel later burned so the screen was lost. There is a small chapel on Jekyll Island, Georgia (about 1 1/2 hours from where I live) that has a Tiffany window in it. This was an area of the island that was once owned by the “Robber Barons” of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Also, check the White House Historical Association webpage. There is a podcaste of an artist who has painted several paintings of the Tiffany decorated rooms including the entrance hall screen.

  14. I agree with anon. about the doors. Those hideous doors look like they came right off a Safeway grocery store. There must be some architecturally pleasing compromise. I wouldn’t like to see a stark modern glass front monstrosity stuck on the front of the White House, but those have irritated me since I was a kid. It seems to me that the most appropriate situation would be to replace front doors with replicas of the original front doors and then to build a vestibule INSIDE the WH. That could be done in an very asthetically pleasing format, such as the vestibule to the exit in the Diplomatic Reception room.
    As to the conservatories, it seems they could have been moved elsewhere on the property. Or at least one of them.

  15. It must be that part of the issue was having a more common door since the tour exits through that set of doors and would be subject to much more wear and damage. Just a guess.

  16. why not just keep the doors open and put in that glass screen for the tourists, but take it out at night.

  17. That’s a great photo of the doors.
    I see them closed so seldom, I forgot they were there. At least the enclosure has been painted white. In the Kennedy days it was aluminum.

    I recently got Jacqueline Kennedy : The White House Years: Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, and it is of course, mostly about her clothing, but there are lots of shots with the WH featured in them. In the photo where they are leaving for the Inaugural Ball, the front windscreen is prominently featured and it does look exactly like the entrance into a grocery store.

    My frustration in looking for photos to donate to the collection is that one can’t find as many photographs of the rooms without people as you would expect. I think each administration should document the changes they have made to the rooms. I would wager this takes place, and they are probably stored in the National Archives, whose internet presence is woefully lacking, in my opinion.

  18. The person in the video describing the new cabinet room sconces and ceiling fixtures says that they are replacements for earlier ones removed in 1970. However, it is evident from cabinet room photos taken in the Kennedy and Johnson years that the eagle sconces and art-deco ceiling lamps had already been removed – probably by Stephane Boudin.

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