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Famous Fabrics




By Steve Brawley

White House Red Room featuring Scalamandré since 1962.

Scalamandré fabrics have been a favorite of First Ladies and White House decorators over the years. In addition to being of high quality, Scalamandré allows the White House to use American made items, avoiding any issues with foreign (especially French) made items. During redecorations and updates by Nixon and Clinton, Scalamandré was heavily featured. Jackie Kennedy did use Scalamandré, but snuck in a few "non American" fabrics in the East Room, and Blue and Green Rooms.

PPB is researching the use of Scalamandré in the White House, especially pre-Truman and in the private quarters. Any leads or information would be greatly appreciated. Working with some interior design friends who have Scalamandré connections to flush out more details.

White House Blue Room Scalamandré Fabric

Source: Scalamandré

Jackie and Scalamandré

From Wikipedia

Scalamandré was commissioned to produce silk fabric for the White House restoration during the administration of president John F. Kennedy. In 1961 the firm was contacted to provide material for the White House. American interior decorator Sister Parish performing initial redecoration work primarily on the residential floor of the White House specified several stock fabrics from Scalamandré Silks.

As the White House restoration began to focus on the more public ceremonial rooms of the State Floor, French interior designer Stéphane Boudin of Maison Jansen was given oversight of the redecoration of the Red Room, Blue Room, East Room, and the fabric selection for the Green Room.

Boudin was encouraged to use the American manufacture Scalamandré to recreate several of the historic fabric documents from the library of Maison Jansen, and the recreation of a complex silk lampas with an eagle design for the upholstery of a suite of French Empire furniture by cabinetmaker Pierre-Antoine Bellangé originally acquired by James Madison for the Blue Room. This, and the Green Room's complex hand woven watered silk moiré proved most challenging. Samples for the Blue Room's upholstery disappointed First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Stéphane Boudin.

White House Chief Usher J. B. West recorded that the Curator of the White House William Voss Elder, III described the sample as looking like a “plucked chicken.” Samples for the Green Room watered silk wall covering were found to be coarse, too thick, and too regular in comparison with the 18th century sample provided to the firm.

Production of both fabrics was quietly moved to the venerable French textile firm Tassinari et Chatel, which had probably woven the Monroe era fabric, originally in crimson. The completed fabric was delivered to the United States by diplomatic pouch avoiding scrutiny by the United States Customs Service and the controversy of a foreign manufactured product.

However, Scalamandré silks were used in the Kennedy Blue Room drapery/wall trim, Red Room walls, drapery, and upholstery. Jackie would later used Scalamandré fabrics in her various homes including 1040 Fifth Ave. in New York City.

Subsequent refurbishments of the White House during the Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and both Bush administrations used stock and custom woven textiles from Scalamandré workshops.


Working Draft Inventory

History of Scalamandré Fabric in the White House

Truman-Johnson and Nixon-Obama East Room

When President Truman completed decoration of the White House during the early 1950s total gut renovation and rebuild, Scalamandré was used in several rooms, notably the East Room.

Truman's Scalamandré East Room fabrics featured: Curtains - lemon gold with white damask using an 18th century design. Benches - white and gold lampas. Used in room from 1952-1965. Jackie used another manufacturer for East Room fabrics. Not certain on manufacturer of East Room fabrics featuring lemon yellow Georgian silk damask currently in place.

Source: The White House in Picture and Story by Joseph Leeming.

Scalamandré feature in East Room 1952. Source: The White House in Picture and

Story by Joseph Leeming.

East Room, 1957. Source: Eisenhower Library

East Room, 2011. Need documentation on East Room fabrics from Nixon to current day. Possibly LELIEVRE at (Old World Weavers - Stark Fabrics?) Not Scalamandre?

Truman-Obama Green Room

Scalamandré fabrics have long dominated the Green Room, except for during a period of time during the Kennedy-Johnson administrations.

Truman-Eisenhower Green Room. Scalamandré feature: Wall coverings and curtains inspired by

Robert Adams prior to 1952, and rehung after the house rebuild until Jackie changed them

out in 1962. Source: Designing Camelot page 93 by James Abbott and Elaine Price.

Scalamandré wall coverings being hung in the Green Room in 1952. Source: Truman Library.

1962 Kennedy Green Room (before final restoration) showing Truman Scalamandré wall coverings and

upholstery on settee owned by Daniel Webster (far right and below). Jackie Kennedy used another (foreign) manufacturer to do the final wall coverings and curtains (not show above) in 1962 restoration.

Scalamandré fabric featuring a multicolored floral motif was used on a settee owned by

Daniel Webster in the Kennedy Green Room. Source: Designing Camelot page 94 by

James Abbott and Elaine Price. Photo by White House Historical Association.

Nixon Green Room. Scalamandré feature: Wall coverings, curtains and upholstery.

Laura Bush Green Room featuring Scalamandré fabrics.

Truman-Obama Blue Room

Scalamandré has been a feature of the Blue Room since the Kennedy Administration.

Kennedy and Johnson Blue Room 1962-1972. Scalamandré fabric used for the curtains and continuous silk top wall border. Jackie chose another vendor to do the chair upholstery after supposedly being upset that a press story about the chair fabric was printed featuring a photo taking at Scalamandré's factory, she also claimed to have not liked Scalamandré's version of the American Eagle for the chair fabric, saying it looked like a "plucked chicken." Source: Designing Camelot by James Abbot and Elaine Rice.

Blue Room Nixon through Bush Administrations. Source: White House Historical Association

Scalamandré curtains and upholstery. Scalamandré fabric is once used for the chairs.

Blue Room Nixon through G.H.W. Bush Administrations. Featuring Scalamandré.

Source: White House Historical Association

Clinton Scalamandré Blue Room Curtains

Clinton Scalamandré Blue Room Curtains

Scalamandré fabric used on Clinton Blue Room enclosed bergere armchairs.

Hillary supervises Blue Room renovation featuring Scalamandré designs.

Scalamandré fabric for Blue Room Chairs (Clinton)

Scalamandré design for Blue Room Chairs (Clinton). Source Interiors Magazine 2000.

President Obama in today's Blue Room. Scalamandré from Clinton still in place.

Source: The White House

Kennedy-Obama Red Room

The Red Room. Since 1962, Scalamandré has dominated the White House's Red Room decor.

Jackie Kennedy, Pat Nixon and Hillary Clinton used Scalamandré for the room's walls, curtains and furniture fabrics. The shade of red has changed but not the dramatic look.

Kennedy-Johnson Red Room 1963. (Cerise)

Nixon Red Room early 1970s. (Red)

Clinton-Obama Red Room ( Red)

Clinton-Obama Red Room

1962 Scalamandré design for Red Room. See photo above.

Source: Scalamandré

Clinton State Dining Room

Hillary Clinton selected Scalamandré fabric for the chairs in the State Dining Room.

Source: Interiors Magazine 2000.

Source: Google Art 2012.

Clinton Oval Office

Clinton Oval Office.

Scalamandré feature: Rug, curtains and furniture upholstery.

Source: House Beautiful

G.W. Bush Oval Office and Cabinet Room

G.W. Bush Oval Office

Scalamandré feature: Furniture upholstery.

Source: Architectural Digest

G.W. Bush Cabinet Room

Scalamandré feature: Curtains.

Source: Architectural Digest

Truman/Eisenhower Study (Yellow Oval Room)

Scalamandré feature: Curtains and Upholstery - Satin damask, soft green patterned in

gold adapted from an 18th century design to suggest the seal of the President.

Used in room from 1952-1961. Source: The White House in Picture and Story by Joseph Leeming.

President's Private Study 1952: Source: Truman Library

Kennedy Yellow Oval Room

Jackie Kennedy used Scalamandré fabric for her 1961 Yellow Oval Room curtains.

Lincoln Bedroom

Clinton Lincoln Sitting Room. Scalamandré feature: Ceiling wallpaper. Source: House Beautiful.

Laura Bush Lincoln Bedroom. Scalamandré feature: Bed curtains.

Margaret Truman and Mamie Eisenhower Bedrooms

Scalamandré was used for the 1952 bedroom curtains (a glazed chintz in green and rose on a cream background taken from a Louis XVI printed called "The Triumph of Hymen") for Margaret Truman's bedroom. Mamie would reuse the same curtains in her own bedroom.

Source: The White House in Picture and Story by Joseph Leeming.

Margaret Truman's Bedroom 1952. Source: Truman Library

Mamie Eisenhower's Bedroom 1952-1960. Source: R. Knudsen

Truman-Eisenhower West Sitting Hall &

Kennedy Empire Guest Room

Scalamandré fabric was used for the curtains and upholstery in West Sitting Hall and Empire Guest Room. It was a red and cream toile called "The Victory of Washington and the Apotheosis of Benjamin Franklin." It shows Washington in a leopard drawn chariot with the Goddess of Independence and Benjamin Franklin with the Goddess of Liberty carrying a banner with the words "Where liberty dwells there is my country." Source: The White House in Picture and Story by Joseph Leeming and JFK Library.

1952-1960. Truman and Eisenhower West Sitting Hall. Source: National Geographic

1962 Kennedy Empire Guest Room. Source: Kennedy Library

Tricia Nixon Bedroom

Tricia Nixon used Scalamandré fabrics in her White House bedroom.

Nixon Cross Hall and Entrance Hall

The Nixon's used Scalamandré fabrics for upholstery and curtains during the 1972 era renovations of the state floor including the Entrance Hall and Cross Hall.

Nixon West Sitting Hall

Pat Nixon used a Scalamandré fabric (Jardin de Tuileres # 11067-001, 87% silk using a 12 screen process) for sofa and chairs in the West Sitting Hall. Jackie Kennedy used the same fabric in her bedroom at 1040 5th Avenue in New York City.

Jardin de Tuileries. Photo by Steve Brawley. Fabric sample by Scalamandré through

Tjaden Interiors, St. Louis, MO USA.

Nixon West Sitting Hall. Source: Nixon Library

G.W. and Laura Bush Queen's Bedroom

Laura Bush selected Scalamandré fabrics to update the Queen's Suite.

Source: Architectural Digest

Clinton Kitchen (Family Quarters)

Hillary Clinton selected Scalamandré wallpaper for their White House second floor family kitchen.

Source: House Beautiful and Invitation to the White House: At Home with History by Hillary Clinton.

Source: Invitation to the White House: At Home with History by Hillary Clinton.

Clinton Dining Room (Family Quarters)

Hillary Clinton selected Italy-based Colony (represented by Scalamandré) wall hangings (silk moire pattern with a tiny tone on tone medallion) and Scalamandré floral seating fabric for their White House second floor dining room. Source: Interiors Magazine March 2000.

Source: House Beautiful




Steve Brawley (314) 740-0298