Blair Drawing Rooms

Part of the original 1824 Blair House, the elegant rear Drawing Room adjoins the front Drawing Room, dining room and garden via broad doorways designed to accommodate large gatherings. Weddings have taken place here, including Elizabeth Blair’s to Samuel Phillips Lee in 1843 and General William Tecumseh Sherman’s to Ellen Ewing, daughter of Zachary Taylor’s Interior Secretary Thomas Ewing, in 1850.

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Blair Drawing Rooms
  • Chinese Ornamental Screen, late 17th century

    This 12-panel carved and lacquered coromandel wood screen has been divided into two equal sections to flank the room’s fireplace. Colored in rich, muted earth tones with black and gilt accents, it was created for a family as a gift for their grandmother’s 90th birthday. The front design depicts scenes from the grandmother’s life; her story is also told in Chinese script on the reverse.

  • Portrait of Daniel Webster, 1848

    This portrait and one of British Foreign Minister Alexander Baring (the first Baron Ashburton) hanging in the adjacent front parlor, both by G.P.A. Healy, commemorate their signing of the 1843 Webster-Ashburton Treaty, settling the border between the United States and Canada, a significant event in American diplomacy. On loan from the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State.

  • Gilt Bronze Candelabrum, 1810

    This four-light candelabrum with tapered fluted column and delicate scrolling floral embellishment is one of a pair original to Blair House, and part of a 50-plus piece collection of early-to-mid-19th century lighting fixtures. The candelabra share the mantelpiece with a pair of same-period hexagonal, famille rose Chinese export porcelain vases.

  • Marble Mantel, 1824

    According to a description of Blair House printed in a local newspaper shortly after the Blair family took residence, this mantel was carved of dark charcoal gray and white mottled marble from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Its counterpart is in the Blair Front Drawing Room.

  • Adam Looking Glass, late 18th century

    This looking glass is one of a pair of English carved gilt wood mirrors of Adam design flanking French doors to the garden. Their oval mirrors are surrounded with intricate frames of classical acorn-studded oak leaf scrolls threaded with bellflower festoons and topped by covered urns. They have adorned these walls since the Johnson administration.

  • Chinese Chippendale Chair c.1760

    The needlepoint upholstery on this George III “Chinese Chippendale” style mahogany open arm chair was personally commissioned by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy from Arthur H. Lee and Sons, Ltd., Birkenhead, England—forerunner of today’s Lee Jofa Co.

  • American Crystal Chandelier c.1850

    This chandelier is one of a matched pair of elegant, 8-light crystal chandeliers, originally gas-lit and attributed to Cornelius and Co., Philadelphia. They were likely installed in the drawing rooms by Montgomery and Mary Woodbury Blair soon after they took over Blair House in 1853.