Melania Trump unveils restored Bellange suite, says will be displayed in White House's Blue Room before Christmas

The Bellange suite is a collection of furniture made for the White House by French master craftsman Pierre-Antoine Bellange in 1817. 


                            Melania Trump unveils restored Bellange suite, says will be displayed in White House's Blue Room before Christmas

First Lady Melania Trump on Thursday unveiled the new-old look of the restored Bellange suite of the Blue Room in the White House.

The Bellange suite is a collection of furniture made for the White House by French master craftsman Pierre-Antoine Bellange in 1817. 

For over ten years, a team of curators has been working with experts to complete the restoration of the Blue Room. A committee approved the project to restore the suite to its original appearance, in the works since 2005.

“It is my honor to announce the completion of the first phase of this important and historic project,” Melania said in a statement.

“Thank you to the many experts, curators, and White House staff who helped repair the beautiful Bellangé suite. I look forward to placing the restored pieces back in the Blue Room so people on the public tour of the White House will be able to enjoy them.”

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: First Lady Melania Trump speaks at a luncheon for governors spouses in the Blue Room at the White House, on February 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The nation's governors are in town for their annual meeting with the President. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: First Lady Melania Trump speaks at a luncheon for governors spouses in the Blue Room at the White House, on February 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. The nation's governors are in town for their annual meeting with the President. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The first lady thanked the curators who spent more than a decade restoring the furniture. The White House also worked to restore the set using latest research. It is also revealed that the fabrics were selected based on receipts that date back to 1817. And the gliding of the furniture was done based on proof of the original appearance that was taken from the original 1817 furniture's microscopic samples. 

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: French Bergre by Pierre-Antoine Bellang from 1817 decorate the Blue Room ahead of Tuesday's State Visit by French President Francois Hollande at the White House February 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. The tour of the Blue Room was 'to highlight AmericaÕs strong, longstanding relationship with France and the unique character of our bilateral relationship by showcasing some of the early French influences and artifacts that have been in the White House for centuries, and can still be seen today.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: French Bergre by Pierre-Antoine Bellang from 1817 decorate the Blue Room ahead of Tuesday's State Visit by French President Francois Hollande at the White House February 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. The tour of the Blue Room was 'to highlight AmericaÕs strong, longstanding relationship with France and the unique character of our bilateral relationship by showcasing some of the early French influences and artifacts that have been in the White House for centuries, and can still be seen today.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Bellange suite was bought by President James Monroe in 1817, but by 1859, all of it had been auctioned off. 

Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy later began reacquiring original pieces in 1961, along with making replica chairs to supplement the originals. And since Kennedy's administration, the original and reproduction pieces have remained in the Blue Room.

Melania Trump also revealed that she plans to reinstate the Bellange suite in the Blue Room in the fall.

The Blue Room forms the most elegant space of James Hoban's plans for the White House. Apart from that, it is also the center of the State Floor of the White House. According to The White House Museum, as the years passed, the Blue Room's oval shaped and breath-taking view of the South Lawn of the White House has caught the eyes of most visitors. It has always been the traditional room for the Presidents to formally receive guests. 

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20: U.S President Barack Obama (L) takes the oath of office from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (R) as first lady Michelle Obama (2nd L) holds the bible and daughter Malia (C) and Sasha looks on in the Blue Room of the White House January 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden were officially sworn in a day before the ceremonial inaugural swearing-in. (Photo by Larry Downing-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20: U.S President Barack Obama (L) takes the oath of office from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (R) as first lady Michelle Obama (2nd L) holds the bible and daughter Malia (C) and Sasha looks on in the Blue Room of the White House January 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden were officially sworn in a day before the ceremonial inaugural swearing-in. (Photo by Larry Downing-Pool/Getty Images)

During the Madison administration architect, Benjamin Latrobe had then designed a suite of classical-revival furniture for the room, but sadly only some of the working drawings remain, rest of the furnishings were destroyed in the fire of 1814. 

FURNISHING AND HERITAGE

Interior view of the Blue Room at the White House, Washington, D.C., 1970s. (Photo by Harvey Meston/Getty Images)
Interior view of the Blue Room at the White House, Washington, D.C., 1970s. (Photo by Harvey Meston/Getty Images)

After the fire of 1814, President Monroe redecorated the large oval room and used the French Empire style, which is also the present decor used in the room. 

Earlier renovation and refurbishing of the Blue Room started in the early 1990s by the Committee for The Preservation of the White House and was completed in mid-1995. The sapphire fabric used in the draperies and furniture covering is almost same in color to the fabric that was used in the room in the 1800's.

The walls were later hung with gold paper that was adapted from the early 19th-century American paper with the borders that was adapted from two early 19th-century French papers. The new oval carpet based on early 19th-century designs as well was adapted from an original design for a neoclassical English carpet of about 1815. 

When it comes to the heritage of the Blue Room till date Grover Cleveland is the first and only president to exchange his wedding vows at the White House. He and Frances Folsum were accompanied by John Philip Sousa and the Marine Band on June 2, 1886. 

The Blue Room in 2001 at Christmastime (Wasylik) - The White House Museum
The Blue Room in 2001 at Christmastime (Wasylik) - The White House Museum

Christmas tree at the Blue Room has always been the tradition at the White House. The tree is cut to 18 ft and placed in the center of the room. It is then decorated with the year's theme ornaments and decorations.

And now with the plans to reinstate the Bellange suite in the Blue Room in the fall, we can't wait to see how it looks this Christmas season.