Once the Smithsonian Building opened in 1855, the Smithsonian's Board of Regents, an appointed governing body, conducted business in a room designed by the architect James Renwick, Jr., as a complement to the building's medieval revival design.
A narrow but lofty space, the Regents' Room of the new Smithsonian
Building featured a 9-meter- (30-foot-) high vaulted Gothic ceiling.
Renwick also designed a massive table and stately armchairs for this
room. The chairs featured distinctive Gothic carvings that evoked
the building's exterior stonework. Nine of the original eighteen
Regents' Room chairs survive.
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