Bronze chandelier with allegorical statuettes
Hanging in the center of the President’s Room is an elaborate 18-arm bronze chandelier embellished with allegorical statuettes mingled with figures of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. It was made by Cornelius & Baker in 1864 and cost $900. All other gas-burning chandeliers were removed from the U.S. Capitol Building following the gas explosion in 1898, but this one survived by being electrified.
The President’s Room provides convenience for the chief executive when visiting the Capitol. In 1859-1860, Constantino Brumidi decorated the President’s Room with allegorical and historical figures on the ceiling while the walls were painted with portraits of George Washington and members of his first cabinet.
Presidents used the room to sign legislation into law at the close of each session of Congress. This practice ended in 1933 with the passage of the 20th amendment, which established different ending dates for presidential and congressional terms of office. Although occasionally used by presidents, the room today is utilized primarily by senators for interviews and press conferences.