Page 5 - Pamplin Collection
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COLLECTION PATRIOTIC PURSUITS

















































“People say that history is a dead study and

that it’s the past, but the past is an apparition of what the 

future can hold.” 
— ROBERT B. PAMPLIN JR.



plin’s Civil War collection, but Pamplin possesses other his- One item within his Washingtonia collection—a studio 

torically signiicant artifacts that he shares only with select copy of Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Dela- 

groups. He rotates the display of those objects in his private ware, circa 1850—is one of numerous existing copies; the 
museum located about 20 miles south of Portland, Ore.
largest and most notable resides in New York’s Metropolitan 

Pamplin’s entire private collection, which exceeds 100,000 Museum of Art, while another hangs in the White House’s 
items and covers a variety of subjects—from ancient Chi- West Wing reception area. The author David Hackett 

nese art to Native American antiquities to World War II Fischer, in his book Washington’s Crossing, sums up the 
artifacts—began about four decades ago, born simply from signiicance of the painting and the story that it tells: “Until 

practicality. Pamplin recalls that he needed to furnish a new Washington crossed the Delaware, the triumph of the old 
home, but instead of buying contemporary pieces of furni- order seemed inevitable. Thereafter, things would never be 

ture he decided to invest in Chippendale and Queen Anne the same again.”
period pieces, citing a desire to “always buy something that 

was going to be worth more down the road.” The same phi- 
losophy led him to invest in ancient Chinese artifacts and 

American ine art. “I don’t just collect the artifact or object; just as he has done with his business, Pamplin has 

I collect the story that’s behind it,” he explains. “Sometimes assembled a staff of talented people over the years to assist 
the object itself isn’t as important as the story it can tell.”
him with his collection, though he remains hands-on in all



Pamplin’s George Washington–related artifacts include (clockwise from top): a Revolutionary War canteen, circa 1779; one of the oldest American-made 
pistols; a Nantucket powder horn from the 1780s; a carved powder horn with a connection to Fort Ticonderoga; an 18th-century forged-iron tomahawk; an 

American cherry-stocked pistol, circa 1776; and a 1780s Native American pipe bag depicting a ight between a redcoat and a bluecoat.


OCTOBER 2013


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