Frick Park Part 2: Clayton and the Frick Estate October 1, 2009Posted by krbradford in Other sights.
Behold Clayton. Originally situated on 1.43 acres of land, it now rests on the 5 acre estate of the Frick Art & Historical Center, which consists of the restored Frick mansion, the Frick Art Museum, the Car and Carriage Museum, the Frick children’s playhouse, and the greenhouse, which grows much of the fresh produce for the cafe which is also on site. This mansion was originally an 11-room Italianate home that the Frick family purchased for $25,000 in 1883. As the family grew, the house grew to the full 23 rooms that visitors see today.
The Frick family left the house for New York in 1905, but Helen Clay Frick owned the house until she died in 1984. At that time it was restored and opened to the public as a museum in 1990. Amazingly, 93% of the artifacts in the house are original, including fine details like the bed linens and all the mirrors, which have never been re-silvered.
We toured the house on Tuesday, and though it’s not the biggest house, the opulence is truly breathtaking. Most of the rooms are decorated en suite, so that all the woodwork, fabrics, paint, and decor are perfectly matched and in harmony with one another. The house is full of priceless artwork, beautiful carpets, ornate friezes and wood carving, high-quality furniture, gorgeous china sets… and anything else ornate and opulent you can think of. It’s really fortunate that Helen Frick left all this wealth and beauty for people to enjoy.
Clayton is also home to one of the few remaining orchestrions in the world. An orchestrion resembles a pipe organ, but it is designed to replicate the sound of an entire orchestra playing right in your own home. Apparently the Frick orchestrion was a favorite among Henry Clay Frick’s possessions, and he loved to play it for his dinner guests.
Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to photograph the interior of the Frick mansion, so I’ve included a few of the photos I’ve been able to find on the internet. You may also enjoy visiting the 360 panorama of the library and sitting room on the second floor of the house.
Look for my upcoming post on Frick Park, the wilderness in the middle of the city.