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Book Review: Great and Good Friends By Ketkan Kumphuang, QSMT Librarian

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Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles

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Book Review: Great and Good Friends

This book serves as the catalog of the Great and Good Friends: Historic Gifts between the Kingdom of Thailand and the United States of America, 1818 – 2018, which is held at Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles from March 21 – June 30, 2018. This exhibition commemorates the friendship between two countries. The book is written by two curators of the exhibition, Trevor Merrion and William Bradford Smith.

Beginning since the reign of Rama II, there have always been communications between two countries, in term of diplomatic and economic. As the salutation written by U.S. presidents in addressing Siam, “Great and Good Friends”, through letters and distance, the two countries have developed a strong friendship. Moreover, the official gifts exchanged between two countries are the significant proofs as well as the storytellers of how two countries grow relationship through many incidents over two centuries.

This book presents collection of objects displayed in Great and Good Friends exhibition which are mostly official gifts from Kings of Thailand to U.S. presidents as well as gifts from the president to the Kings. These special gifts, including important documents from the past, have never been displayed in public before.


Daguerreotype Portrait of King Mongkut and His Daughter
Gift from King Mongkut to President James Buchanan (Received by President Abraham Lincoln), 1861


Silver Niello Bowl with Gold Trim; Gift from King Prajadhipok to President Herbert Hoover, 1931
38.1 x 45.4 cm
Courtesy of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum; 65.2.35 (a-c)
Photo by Burwell Photography


Gold Niello Covered Bowl with Gold Royal Cyphers
Gift from King Bhumibol Adulyadej to President George W. Bush, 2003
33.7 x 20.5 cm; Courtesy of George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum; FO.333417.2.a-b; Photo by Burwell Photography


Gold Niello Water Bowl and Stand Gift from King Chulalongkorn to the Smithsonian Institution, 1876; Bowl 15 cm diameter
Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute, Department of Anthropology
Photo by James Di Loreto, Lucia RM Martino, and Kate D. Sherwood


Gold Nielloware: Waterpot, envelopes for betel leaf, stands, water bowl, lidded containers, and spittoon
Gift from King Chulalongkorn to the Smithsonian Institution, 1876
Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, Department of Anthropology


Enamel Portrait of King Prajadhipok in Gold Frame with Diamonds
Gift from King Prajadhipok to First Lady Lou Henry Hoover, 1931


Their Majesties present gifts to President Lyndon B. Johnson and
First Lady Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson, 1967

Portrait of George Washington Attributed to Rembrandt Peale
Gifts from President Franklin Pierce to Second King Pinklao, 1856
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Department of Thailand

Portrait of Franklin Pierce, unknown artist;
Gift from President Franklin Pierce to Second King Pinklao, 1856
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Department of Thailand


President Barack Obama giving King Bhumibol Adulyadej a photo album of past presidents and first ladies with His Majesty, 2012
Courtesy of the White House