For the State Department's Diplomatic Reception Rooms, 1985 was gilt-edged and gold-leafed.
A total of $4,197,000 -- in money and objects valued at almost $1 million -- was donated, Clement Conger, chairman of State's Fine Arts Committee, announced Friday night at the annual buffet party for 500 donors of $500 or more in the elegant rooms on State's penthouse floor.
Last year also marked completion of the two biggest projects in the 25-year history of State's fine arts program: the $3.5 million remodeling of the Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room and the $2.25 million remodeling of the 10-room, seventh-floor secretary of state's suite.
The nearly $4.2 million in donations, more than in any other year, included the largest single gift ever: $1.2 million from the J.N. Pew Jr. Charitable Trust.
The new gifts brought the value of the State Department's collection of late 18th- and early 19th-century American furniture, paintings and objects to about $30 million, of which about $9 million worth is on long-term loan.
The collection is quartered in faux Federal settings on two floors, remodeled from 1950s Modern at a cost of $10 million, in the State Department building in Foggy Bottom.
*The penthouse floor -- remodeled, furnished and decorated by private, tax-deductible gifts -- is the setting for affairs of State, every year entertaining 60,000 princes, prime ministers, other potentates and private citizens .
The rooms are major stages for American diplomacy, from intimate negotiations between the secretary of state and a single prime minister around the fireplace in the James Madison State Dining Room to great feasts in the new Benjamin Franklin great hall.
The secretary of state's Treaty Room and two adjoining reception rooms on the seventh floor are scheduled to be completed in May at a cost of about $1.5 million.
Other major donors last year were Kenneth S. and Amelia Battye of Baltimore, $438,463.77; Dorothy Brown of Los Angeles, $103,849.01; and Gerald Alan Freed of Washington, $103,000. The Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation of Amarillo, Tex., Mobil of New York and the John C. Whitehead Fund of Washington each gave $100,000.
Secretary of State George Shultz and Helene Shultz gave $10,000, Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige and Midge Baldrige $1,000, and Saudi Arabian Ambassador Prince Bandar Bin Sultan $5,000.
Conger himself, with his wife Lianne, gave $34,000 through the family's John Jay Hopkins Foundation, and he contributed speech honoraria of $5,250. Royalties from Mottahedah china inspired by objects in the collection amounted to $3,929.13. Some objects not suitable for the collection were auctioned off last year, raising $436,545.99 from Sotheby's and $23,799.25 from Christie's.
An oil painting by Albert Bierstadt, "Twilight, Lake Tahoe" (1873-1874), was given by Nevada State Sen. William Hernstadt and Judith Hernstadt. Though only 14 by 20 inches -- not nearly as large as the Bierstadt in the White House valued at $600,000 -- the painting is considered a fine example of the artist's work.
A 1766 engraving with aquatint of "A View of St. James's Gate, From Cleveland Row," by Edward Rooker of London after Paul Sandby, was given by the United Kingdom "to mark the 200th anniversary of the presentation of John Adams, first U.S. Minister to London to King George III on 1 June 1785 at St. James' Palace."
Eleanor Lansing Dulles, in honor of her brother, the late secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and his wife, gave an English looking glass with a shell crest. A master Massachusetts clockmaker made a pair of clocks just acquired by the collection: a rare Federal lighthouse clock of veneered mahogany with ormolu and a Massachusetts tall case clock, given respectively by Margaret D. Bellows of Walpole, N.H., and John T. Bent of Rochester, N.Y. To go on the shelf full of Paul Revere silver, Aimee and Rosamond Lamb of Boston gave a silver tablespoon by the patriot silversmith along with a set of four Chinese Export porcelain armorial plates with the crest of Winthrop Sargent, a Revolutionary War figure.
*The Fine Arts Committee commissioned a portrait by Herbert Abrams of Warren, Conn., of Conger, the founder of the project and its mainstay over its quarter of a century. The painting was exhibited Friday night before, as Conger said, "we put it in storage until I retire."