Designing Camelot: The Kennedy White House Restoration

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9780471292425: Designing Camelot: The Kennedy White House Restoration
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Firsthand accounts and photographs chronicle the restoration of the White House during the Kennedy Administration.

Designing Camelot recounts one of the most influential interior design projects in American history, the restoration of the White House during the Kennedy administration. Fueled by the intense fascination with the charismatic First Family, the project had a profound effect on the popular American imagination and taste in interior furnishings. Emphasizing the historic restoration of each room and the efforts to have these rooms reflect the personalities and tastes of Jack and Jackie, Designing Camelot features a wealth of first-person quotations, personal and public correspondence, media accounts, and photographs. Included are detailed room-by-room analyses of the restoration, anecdotes about the people involved, and insights into the choices made.

James Abbot (Baltimore, MD) is currently Curator of Decorative Arts at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Elaine Rice (Wilmington, DE) is an independent consultant on American fine and decorative arts.

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From the Publisher:

Designing Camelot is the first book to document the restoration of the White House by Jacqueline Kennedy and her advisors--the most extensive to date. Under the watchful eye of the Fine Arts Committee for the White House, chaired by famed antiquarian Henry Francis du Pont and, unbeknownst to the American public, French interior designer Stephane Boudin and his firm Jansen, the White House became a model for historic houses all over America. Through rich anecdotes and a stunning collection of four-color and black and white photographs, Designing Camelot illustrates the rich interiors of the White House, while at the same time exploring the restoration as an extension of the Kennedy/Camelot legacy.

From the Inside Flap:

"Perhaps one of the finest commentaries on American decorative arts ever published." William Seale White House Historian Designing Camelot The Kennedy White House Restoration James A. Abbott · Elaine M. Rice "From the moment President John F. Kennedy took the oath of office, his administration was characterized as having style," write authors James Abbott and Elaine Rice in their exquisite new book Designing Camelot. Nowhere was the "Kennedy style" more evident than in the rooms in which the young President and his wife Jacqueline lived and worked between 1961 and 1963, as America witnessed the transformation of its premier residence from "home of the President" to "house-museum." Designing Camelot is the first book to document the restoration of the White House by Jacqueline Kennedy and her advisors—the most significant and extensive to date. Under the watchful eye of the Fine Arts Committee for the White House, chaired by famed antiquarian Henry Francis du Pont and, unbeknownst to the American public, French interior designer Stéphane Boudin and his firm Jansen, the White House became a model for historic houses all over America. Many of the country’s governors’ mansions were renovated as state First Ladies strove to emulate the efforts of a sophisticated Jacqueline Kennedy. Through rich anecdotes and a stunning collection of four-color and black and white photographs, Designing Camelot illustrates the rich interiors of the White House, while at the same time exploring the restoration as an extension of the Kennedy/Camelot legacy. Individual chapters examine the White House room by room inviting a look at not only familiar public places like the Oval Office and West Wing, but the Kennedys’ private quarters as well. Kennedy enthusiasts, interior designers, architects, collectors, history buffs, preservationists, museum professionals, and White House watchers alike will enjoy this intimate look at the taste and style of Jacqueline Kennedy, the most watched First Lady of America, and the relationship between an extraordinary client and her designers. Far beyond the mere selection of furniture and fabrics, the renovation of the White House reflected the desire of the Kennedys—Jacqueline Kennedy in particular—to associate themselves with a grand historical past, and their efforts to enhance the entire atmosphere surrounding the Presidency. Designing Camelot captures this incredible era as never before, and offers a unique insight into the collective Kennedy mind and personality.

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Abbott, James A., Rice, Elaine M.
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