MPF Conservation is a full-service company specializing in conservation, restoration and preservation of furnishings of upholstered and non-upholstered objects, textiles and interior architectural elements; this page shows a long history of Condition Surveys and Condition Assessments MPFC has performed for the Pittock Mansion.
Especially in government-owned properties, assessments are important in helping curatorial staff choose projects and set budgets.
Note: Many more images of rooms are located at the bottom!
A short history of Pittock Mansion in Portland Oregon: The mansion was built by Henry Pittock (c.1834-1919) and Georgiana (Burton) Pittock (c.1845-1918), and designed by local architect Edward T. Foulkes (1874-1967). The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974
Henry was born in London, England; his family migrated to America, and he was raised in Pittsburgh, PA, until at 19 he took the Oregon Trail to Portland. At that time Portland was little more than a frontier town competing to become the trade capitol for the region. Henry went to work for the Oregonian as a typesetter, and after he and Georgiana were married he was given ownership of the flagship newspaper. He transformed it into the competitive paper it is today. Note he was also good friends with Henry Hahn, of the Hahn House, listed as a courtesy under Institutions above. For more information visit Pittock Mansion‘s formal website.
Above, a Needlepoint Fauteuil circa 19th century in the library. MPFC assessed the fauteuil in 2006 because of the damaged tapestry, which is in need of repair, example shown second image above. This can be repaired using matching yarns.
At the time it sat in the Library with the game table (shown third image above) and the French Triple-Back Canapé, shown top. To see a full treatment of another fauteuil for a private client, click on the link: Louis XIV Revival Fauteuil.
In 2007 we assessed the shellacked walls of the Dining Room, above. A true shellac varnish for walls during this period is historically accurate. It was durable and allowed for a depth of transparency. These walls were likely exposed to ammonia-based cleaners during the first half of the 20th century which dried the varnish prematurely, causing it to fade and crack.
For treatment in this case, MPFC would mix a matching traditional shellac to the historic shellac. We recommended the walls be cleaned and properly prepped, after which we would overcoat and activate the historic shellac, preserving its tone and some of its craquelure, while repairing many anomalies.
The historic Steinway circa 1887 is from Henry Pittock’s collection, above. Pittock’s director indicated the grand piano was stripped and refinished long before we first saw it, and in so doing some of the label was damaged. She requested an assessment of the current new finish, which had issues as well, including fading.
Above, Henry Pittock’s ebonized bed; below, the chest of drawers.
MPFC assessed Henry Pittock’s ebonized bed and chest of drawers, above and right.
The finish on both the double bed and the long chest of drawers was damaged, showing wear and scratches.
Note the small detail on the front of the chest at the top, where the ebonized finish has worn in a lovely manner.
Let’s take a quick walk through some of the rooms at the Pittock. Many of these images were taken when we performed a walk-through to discuss the items the Director wanted to consider for assessment and treatment.
The first room above holds the historic Steinway grand piano, and also several gilded chairs (and sofa) which have been overpainted in part. It is unlikely the overpainting was original to the pieces when Pittock purchased them, but was done quite a long time ago. It may have been done by the auction house, or may have been done after Henry Pittock died.
Above, the entry ceiling, which appears to be silver and gold leaf, though we have not examined it closely.
Above, several bedrooms other than Henry Pittock’s. The first image is a child’s bedroom; the second is Georgiana Pittock’s, the other two are guest bedrooms for visiting grown children.
Above, the “modern” bathroom!
One of Kate’s favorite bedrooms, above, the green bedroom with the bamboo inspired furniture. I doubt the chenille spread, right, is original to the Pittock’s but it is lovely piece!
Above, a recamier and a long sofa, with a Chinese inspired pear wood chair on the balcony in between.
A final recommendation is the Magazine Antiques article: “Great Estates: Pittock Mansion in Portland, Oregon”.
Pittock is well worth the visit, and all within a short distance from downtown and NW Portland!