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06 May 2017 @ 11:36 am
Modernity  
Place: Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon
Date: April 30, 2017
Weather: Partly cloudy
Click through to Flickr for larger versions of the photos.

I didn't actually spend much time in the garden around the mansion. I was put off by the garish color combinations at once, so I concentrated on the inside. But the entrance to the mansion was surrounded by clouds of white, double Prunus flowers, so I did take one photo of them.
Double Prunus flowers.

The color schemes inside were much more refined. This is an example. It's the Turkish Smoking Room ceiling. There was a desk here and French doors out to the terrace. I imagine that it would have been a wonderful place to write in summer with a breeze coming in through the doors.
Fantastic ceiling in the Turkish Smoking Room in the Pittock Mansion. #pdx

What fascinated me about the mansion was the modernity, particularly in their use of plumbing and technology. The Pittocks had money to spend and they used it for their convenience. Typical of the time, the early nineteen hundreds, they were also very keen on hygiene. Here is a double sink with ingenious drains. The little towers are the drains. Apart from that I also really like the shape of the divider bertween the sinks.
Beautiful sink. #pdx

 Another time-saving device was this intercom. It connected all the main family rooms with the working rooms, such as the kitchen. It also reached the garage and the gate keeper's cottage. The Pittocks didn't have to ring a bell and wait for a servant to appear before they could make their wishes heard. Instead they just picked up the receiver and spoke directly to the servant they wanted. That must have impressed guests. It also made it easier for the servants. At this time, it was hard to find good servants, because most people preferred to work in factories. The pay was better and you weren't subject to the whims of rich people in quite the same way as if you were in service.
Intercom patented in 1907.

There were two showers in the mansion. They sprayed water from above, below and the sides, depending on which of the many knobs you turned. If you think hotel showers are baffling, you'd probably like to read the manual before stepping into this one.
The Pittocks had a nicer shower in 1914 than I do now.
Another example of beautiful plaster work. This is most likely new. The mansion stood empty for a short time in the sixties and was badly water damaged during a severe storm. Most wall treatments, furniture and plaster work are new or come from other families. That was a little disappointing. I would have preferred to get a more intimate view of the Pittocks and their descendants. That's what makes history come alive for me.
More high quality plaster decorations.

Original Pittock belongings were marked with a large blue P. That's how I know that this wonderfully grumpy cat painting isn't from the Pittocks. The white, longhaired cat with her beautiful eyes has destroyed the valuable vase. The peacock on the table cloth is a symbol of vanity in Western art. So the painter was probably trying to convey a moralistic message about the danger of being taken in by beauty. Particularly female beauty, as cats tend to be identified as female. Today we just laugh at cats being jerks.
Destructive beauty.