Mason Monterey Museum Collection at the Oregon Caves NM

This page shows the Museum Collection only,
not the pieces that went back onto the floor at the Chateau.

While we would love to share the stories of each of the pieces in full,
however, we are choosing to abbreviate these commentaries.
Gluing, clamping to dry, or the creation of missing parts is not shown here.
Full documentation was provided as part of treatment.

Two Polychrome Mason Horseshoe-back Monterey Chairs

The size of these chair seats is more generous, as are gaming or side chairs to sit on in a living room rather than dining room chairs. There are four in the collection; these are the first two to be conserved.

All will be part of the Museum Collection.

Floral Mason Horseshoe-back Monterey Chair

The Straw Yellow and Straw Ivory polychrome finish was severely compromised, and was cleaned and conserved. The original sling seat was in poor condition, but no tears. Some original lacing was missing; MPFC consolidated the lacing and replaced missing pieces on the back of the chair. The original leather upholstery was conserved.

Geometric Mason Horseshoe-back Monterey Chair

The Straw Yellow and Spanish Blue polychrome finish was very dirty with 80 years of grease and food and environmental grime. MPFC cleaned and conserved the finish; no infill was performed. The original leather seat has red rot and was split across the front; as it will not be sat on again, we held it together with “bandages” and a bit of cosmetic infill to the bandages so they were unnoticeable.
Red rot was treated to slow down the process. New leather lacing was colored in the manner Mason used, which is not typical.

“Chateau Green” Mason Monterey A-Frame Dining Chair

The original finish was in good to fair condition, including the decorative motif on the splat. This A-Frame chair was set aside for the museum. The original color is different from Spanish Green: the base color is lighter than Spanish Green and leans toward a minty green.  The Smokey Maple top coat is quite subdued, though we think this is from years of the finish rubbing off rather than the intention at the outset, and the overall appearance is a minty green.
We dubbed this color “Chateau Green” and hope it sticks!  Further, this chair was an excellent reference for the splat colors when investigated by Gamblin Artist Colors, below left.  Final image below right, is of the reproduction chair.
We believe this is the way original Chateau Green A-frame looked when new.


“Chateau Orange” Mason Monterey Lamp

  The finish was severely compromised, left and below, having been through some form of water event, though it did not go out the window with the A-Frames.  The table top was broken in three pieces.  The table top was repaired, middle right, below.  The lamp was slated for the museum, not for reuse on the floor, and no infill was performed, but we thoroughly cleaned the original finish.  The color is unlike any orange we have previously seen, an apricot color.  We are dubbing this color “Chateau Orange” and hope it sticks.  We also painted one of the completely stripped A-frames to match this color, bottom right.

This was used as a reference for the colors
when investigated by Gamblin Artist Colors.


Upholstered Paddle-Arm Mason Monterey Wingback Chair

When MPFC went to retrieve the Paddle-Arm to bring in for conservation, the cushion was missing altogether, left.  This was perplexing, as it had a cushion when surveyed for treatment.  We did not know if this was to make it into the Museum Collection until finally it was discovered that the head of the Friends of the Oregon Caves had borrowed the cushion without following protocol of permissions
and sign-outs with the curator of the NPS.


Finally it was returned, left, above.
The original orange and cream slubbed cotton weave upholstery fabric was intact and in good condition, though it was quite filthy. What is perplexing is that the fabric was in good condition, but the finish was severely compromised, having been through some sort of water event which removed and/or damaged much of the original paint.
(It did not go out the window in the flood, however.)
MPFC never resolved the mystery of how the original upholstery survived in good condition, while the finish was severely compromised!


MPFC removed all of the upholstery.
Many of the decorative nails were already missing or damaged, and many more came apart.  The surviving decorative nails were archived in the museum collection,
and a matching decorative nail was used when the chair was reupholstered.


The spring filled cushion was also filthy, and this was cleaned and restored.
Prior to cleaning the edges of all pieces were stabilized so they did not unravel even with the gentle soaking agitation.  The upholstery was gently soaked in de-ionized water only after testing of even the mildest cleansers (such as diluted Orvis Paste) showed dye loss.  The water still managed to remove latex glues and grime, though the process of soaking and changing water ever few hours took several days.  Finally it was rinsed until the water ran completely clear, and blocked for reuse while drying.  Even so, we had to reweave some edges with the smallest of crochets hooks after drying.

Note one conundrum in the finish color, of which an image is shown left.  That is, it appears that possibly the original paint color was Chateau Orange (see lamp), and that at some time a coating of Old Wood was applied over it.  It doesn’t make sense, especially as the upholstery is original, but there is also no denying images such as the one above.

We have no answer to this mystery, but as there was at least one other
Mason Monterey piece in the orange color, it is possible.


 Above, shown are before and after images of the chair frame finish.  As noted, the finish was very damaged, including the base of the legs, which appeared as if it had sat in water for many days, left.  We added a topcoat of a glaze in the Old Wood color originally used on the frame, but much diluted, right.  This allowed the undercoats to show through the new paint coat.   When dry, the finish was waxed, then the wax was wiped off, and a dusting of rottenstone was applied, below.



Straw Yellow Polychrome Mason Monterey
Woven Leather Side Chair

This side chair was used in the lobby of the Chateau. The sagging leather back is a replacement, and not the proper type of leather.  The Straw Yellow finish was in poor condition, worn and filthy with greasy from decades of use with greasy hands.  The decorative “River of Life” in Chateau Orange was intact, however.


The original woven seat was in fragile condition with one break,
but as the chair was never again to be sat in, and the leather was cleaned and repaired.


Red rot was treated to slow down the degradation with Klucel.


MPFC cleaned the chair and preserved the original finish; no infill was necessary.


The chair was missing decorative nails.
These were recreated and finished to look as if they were old with worn paint.


The back strap was not original and was replaced: this meant coloring the leather,
then buffing it to match the patina on the strapping leather



TWO Smokey Maple Ruffled Peplum
Mason Monterey Ladder-back Chair

Two identical chairs came together to make one for the museum, and one for the floor.  One chair was in pieces, with a fractured front leg, below left, but had an intact seat showcover in the original fabric.  The second one had an intact frame with a split leg, but the showcover was damaged beyond use, shown left.  Finish on both was in fair condition.  We borrowed parts from the matching chair which went back on the Chateau floor to create a museum-worthy ladder-back, shown right and on the right bottom right, and we created  new pieces for the second chair which is to be used again on the Chateau floor.


More pages are listed below!