French Drawing Room

To be entertained in the French Drawing Room in Marjorie Merriweather Post’s day was to be transported from the era of Mad Men and martinis to the splendor of 18th-century France.

Piano photos in French Drawing Room, Hillwood, Washington DC

Some of the prominent guests that Post entertained in the French Drawing Room are pictured in photos on the piano.

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Swivel Chair, Hillwood, Washington DC

A swivel chair made for Marie Antoinette.

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Photo of Marjorie Post as Marie Antoinette, Hillwood, Washington DC

Marjorie Post's interest in royalty--especially Marie Antoinette--is evidenced throughout the French Drawing Room. Here Post is pictured dressed as the famous Queen for a fancy dress ball in 1923.

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Marvin Ross giving talk in French Drawing Room at Hillwood

Majorie Post's curator, Marvin Ross, gives a talk to visitors in the French Drawing Room.

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Immerse yourself in this sumptuous room, resplendent with Beauvais tapestries, Sèvres porcelain, glistening gold boxes, and Gobelin tapestry upholstered chairs, and imagine you’re beginning an elegant evening at Hillwood among some of Marjorie Post’s distinguished guests—from diplomats and politicians--no bipartisan bickering thwarted the proper dinner parties at Post’s home--to Post family and friends, and members of the Washington social set. 

Many of these famous guests are pictured in photographs on the grand piano. The fresh floral arrangements conform to Post’s wishes to grace and enliven her Mansion in perpetuity.

Fit for a Queen

Look around and discover  that the painted and gilt wood paneling—brought in from a Parisian mansion dating to King Louis XVI (1774-1792)—is a majestic backdrop for this celebration of Post’s passion for French royalty and aristocracy.

Among the gems demonstrating the royal connections that characterize much of Hillwood’s French collection is an intricate roll-top desk crafted by the renowned father and son team of Abraham and David Roentgen. While its beautiful designs and extraordinary craftsmanship support two of the three criteria for objects entering Post’s collection, its storied association to Marie Antoinette at the time of purchase in the 1920s made it a favorite among Post’s French treasures.

There is a confirmed link to the famous queen in the gilt wood and leather swivel chair that sits nearby. Made by one of the most famous dynasties of Parisian chairmakers, it bears the stamp of the garde meuble de la reine, the office in charge of supplying furnishings for Queen Marie Antoinette’s apartments. The low back and swivel seat would have facilitated the powdering of her royal hair.

 

Step Outside

The French Drawing Room was one of several spaces designed to connect harmoniously with the gardens just beyond its walls. In nice weather, the double doors of the grand French room would be opened to allow a seamless flow to the French garden room outside.

               

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