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Maury Place Presidential China

Each morning Maury Place Inn Guests are served breakfast on our finest china, with a different collection of dishes set each morning. One of our favorite choices is the Maury Place Presidential China, a historical reproduction of the china of U.S. Presidents.

George Washington Presidential ChinaGeorge Washington
1st President

George and Martha Washington received this monogrammed china as a giftfrom the East India Company in 1796. Each piece features Mrs. Washington’s initials at the center as well as the names of all fifteen states in the union at that time. A Latin motto, “Decus et tutamen ab illo”
(“A glory and the defense of it”) appears under, on a ribbon motif. Underneath the initials and motto is a gold sunburst. A narrow border on each plate bears the motif of a snake with its tail in its mouth.

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Thomas Jefferson Presidential ChinaThomas Jefferson
3rd President

Thomas Jeffwerson is the second of four Virginia presidents represented in our collection. The Jefferson china includes his own monogram with a fleur-de-lis design, influenced by his time as foreign minister of France. Entertainment during his term as President often revolved around French themes.

James Madison Presidential ChinaJames Madison
4th President

Dolley Madison is remembered as one of the most gracious First Ladies, and the lavish parties she initiated as wife of the Secretary of State continued when she and President Madison entered the White House. Unfortunately, while Madison was President, the war of 1812 began, during which the White House was looted and burned. As a result, only a few pieces of the Madisons’ White House tableware remain.

James Monroe Presidential ChinaJames Monroe
5th President

The Monroe china was the first created specifically for an American president. Manufactured in Paris, France in 1817, a dinner service of thirty place settings and a matching dessert service were purchased for $1,167.23. The Napoleonic eagle featured in the center of the plate was popular at the time in France and America. The eagle carried a red, white, and blue banner reading “E Pluribus Unum,” the national motto. The five vignettes inside the dark red border represent agriculture, strength, commerce, science, and arts. The china was criticized by the press at the time for being ‘foreign goods.” Congress soon passed a law mandating all furniture for the White House be made in America. When it came to manufacturing china, it would take the U.S. nearly another one hundred years to compete with the fine works produced in England and France.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential ChinaAbraham Lincoln
16th President

Wife Mary Todd Lincoln selected this French design, combining the American eagle with various decorations in a purple-red hue called “soferino,” invented by the French in 1859 and popular among the fashionable hosts of Lincoln’s day.

Ulysses Grant Presidential ChinaUlysses S. Grant
1869 to 1877
18th President

The Grant White House china was created under an alliance of an American artist and the considerable talents of France’s Haviland and Company. William E. Seaton created a range of floral decorations to grace the center of each plate. Lissac, painter-engraver of Haviland then transmitted these designs to porcelain, adding the same yellow-colored border, as well as the Grant coat of arms to each. During the Grant administration, this china received a great deal of use as the Grants were known for their lavish entertaining.

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