Published: November 5, 2002
GREENWICH, CONN. – The Bruce Museum of Arts and Science will present “Small Scales III: Miniature Rooms and Houses,” an exhibition of miniatures, houses, palaces and rooms, November 16 through January 19.
The exhibition features works on loan from members of the Greenwich Miniaturists and collectors from Maine, Massachusetts and New York. Included are three vignettes, circa 1940, created by the famed Narcissa Thorne in Chicago, who, with the assistance of other experts, produced dozens of rooms that were authentic small-scale replicas portraying periods of European architecture and interior design.
Small-scale replicas are not new; their recorded history dates back to ancient Egypt. They began as children’s learning tools, teaching social graces and the decorative arts through play. In Seventeenth Century Europe, the Princess Dorothea of Schwarzburg-Gotha (1666-1751) spent many years and considerable sums of money having artisans build a miniature Bavarian town peopled with figures depicting its court life.
In the 1930s it was fashionable for museums to display full-scale period rooms, but the cost in money and space was becoming prohibitive. By this time, Thorne had collected an enormous quantity of antique furniture and accessories one-twelfth the actual size. For the Art Institute of Chicago, Thorne commissioned a series of miniature rooms accurately portraying 29 periods of European architecture and interior design and in so doing transformed small-scale replicas into an art form.
In addition to the three Thorne rooms on view, the exhibition includes a large architectural model of a French Palace, a small gilded Venetian palace called the Ca d’oro, a Swedish house with delicately painted walls and furniture, an English cottage and pub, an elegantly furnished reception room of a Newport mansion, London fine arts shoppe, an Art Deco salon on the SS Normandie, and a sewing room featuring miniscule needlepoint and stitchery.
The museum, 1 Museum Drive, is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday, 1 to 5 pm. For information, 203-869-0376 or visit www.brucemuseum.org.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm