Hayes State Dinner Service

In 1879, a state dinner service for President and Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes was commissioned from Haviland & Co., Limoges, France. After a meeting with Mrs. Hayes in the White House conservatory, Theodore R. Davis, an artist for Harper's Weekly, who advocated a service designed with American flora and fauna, was asked to assume direction of the designs. From his drawings, etchings were produced for transfer of the outlines to many new dish shapes; basic coloring was applied by chromolithographic and decalcomania processes and then shaded by decorators. The dinner platters (both extant) were described as painted with "a magnificent wild turkey, who struts through the light snow, upon which are seen delicate reflections from his rich-colored plumage...on this most perfectly American dish."

Some of the Hayes designs and forms were made for public sale as well, but on these the pennant mark dated 1879, unique to the White House service, was replaced by a blue 1880 patent mark.

Office of the Curator, The White House


Hayes State Dinner Service

U.S. Government purchase, 1880