Official State China: Pickard China Company<img alt="" src="/sites/GovernorsMansion/Exhibitions/PublishingImages/Art-of-Illinois/Pickard-China-Plate.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Official State China: Pickard China Company<div class="ExternalClass15D06383B21B4F83B615265922B6203E"><p> <img class="pull-right" alt="Pickard China Company seal" src="/sites/GovernorsMansion/Exhibitions/PublishingImages/Art-of-Illinois/Pickard-China-Mark.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:350px;" />​When the state's governors host a formal dinner in the Illinois Governor's Mansion, the table is set with the official State China, made by the Pickard China Company based in Antioch, Illinois. Each porcelain dinner plate features a wide gold band acid-etched with scrolls and flowers, surrounding a gold State of Illinois seal. The rims of complementary pieces are decorated with a narrower etched band and the state's seal. The service includes five-piece place settings, cream soup bowls, and serving pieces. </p><p>The china service was designed in 1971 by First Lady Dorothy Ogilvie, who conferred with designers at Pickard to produce a unique pattern for use in the Governor's Mansion after its 1972 renovation. To finance its purchase, each of the state's Woman's Republican Clubs donated at least one place setting; local chapters of The Questers also contributed funds. Governor Jim Edgar and his wife, Brenda, replaced pieces and added to the service between 1991 and 1999. </p><p>Pickard China Company is a family-owned business located in Antioch, Illinois, since 1937. The company was founded in 1894 by Wilder A. Pickard, a Chicago businessman and salesman who started a china decorating business using imported porcelain china "blanks" hand-painted by artists. In 1905, the company built a studio in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago, where a staff of 50 artists, many trained in Europe, hand decorated over a thousand different designs on china that was sold in jewelry, department, and art stores. </p><p>During the 1920s, Pickard began exploring the possibility of manufacturing his own porcelain. His son Austin worked with ceramic engineers to develop their own china body and glaze; by 1936, they had perfected both. The result was china that is lightweight, delicate in color, highly translucent, strong, and durable. In 1937, the company moved from Chicago to Antioch, where they had access to suitable clay mined in Lake County and southern Wisconsin. Pickard has produced exclusive fine china for heads of state around the world, as well as many prestigious hotels, restaurants, and corporations. In 1977, Pickard obtained a contract with the U.S. Department of State to produce crested and uncrested porcelain china services for all United States embassies and diplomatic missions across the globe, and it has done so ever since. It has made fine china for the White House, Air Force One, Camp David, and both houses of the U.S. Congress. </p><p>Pickard remains a retail-based manufacturer of fine dinner-ware, producing china for retail, government, gift, and food service/commercial customers. </p></div>GP0|#391eb488-c8d6-4bb9-b942-2180f54fe3c5;L0|#0391eb488-c8d6-4bb9-b942-2180f54fe3c5|Pickard China Company;GTSet|#6a9f5109-021d-478a-ae73-864102492159;GPP|#b8008031-8d86-41bf-8c8c-657f66f046d4;GPP|#be65f490-4890-487c-bb16-c396d99511f7China;#PermanentChina;#Porcelain;#Antioch, IllinoisIllinois State China Service, 1971 Porcelain, plate 10 ¾ inches in diameter, First Lady Dorothy Shriver Ogilvie (1922–2016), designer, Collection of Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association