Furnishing the Mansion

Bottle stand used by George Washington in the first presidential mansion

In creating the appropriate personal style for the presidency, George Washington modeled social manners and outward trappings after the southern gentlemanly way of life he had known in Virginia.

With no established official residence, Washington outfitted the presidential home in Philadelphia himself, with furnishings intended to give the impression of elegance, dignity, and stability. Washington chose items that were both refined and simple, hoping to strike a balance that would project respect for the office while suggesting the egalitarian principles of the Revolution.

Engraving of George Washington's home in High Street, Philadelphia, 1830

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Wineglass used at the presidential residence in Philadelphia

Miniature cabinet portraits of George and Martha Washington, painted by John Trumbull in 1795, towards the end of Washington's presidency.