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The Thorne Miniature Rooms

"The 68 Thorne Miniature Rooms enable one to glimpse elements of European interiors from the late-13th century to the 1930s and American furnishings from the 17th century to the 1930s. Painstakingly constructed on a scale of one inch to one foot, these fascinating models were conceived by Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago and constructed between 1932 and 1940 by master craftsmen according to her specifications."

Take a peek!

1. French Salon.


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2. Japanese Interior.

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3. Pennsylvania Kitchen.

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From Wikipedia:

"Narcissa Niblack Thorne (May 2, 1882 - June 25, 1966) was an American artist known for her extremely detailed miniature rooms. Her works depict historical interiors from Europe, Asia and North America from the late 13th to the early 20th century. The Thorne rooms are honored with dedicated exhibits in the Phoenix Art Museum, the Knoxville Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago, where a special wing was built to house them.

"Thorne was born in Vincennes, Indiana, in 1882; her parents moved to Chicago when she was a child. She was educated partially at home and partially in public school, finishing at the Kenwood Institute. She married James Ward Thorne, an heir to the Montgomery Ward department store fortune, on May 29, 1901; they had been childhood sweethearts. They had two sons, named Ward and Niblack."

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From The New York Times Magazine:

"The Thornes' apartment on Chicago's North Lake Shore Drive was said to be overrun with miniatures.

"Mrs. Thorne compulsively collected over the years old royal dollhouse relics, a number of them purchased from her favorite Parisian antiques shop, a place she refused all her life to identify.

"By designing her own rooms, she now had a way to permanently house those remnants and bestow them to posterity.

"Beginning in 1930, she scoured whatever reference material she could find on period architecture, interior design and decorative arts to flesh out the sketches and blueprints for the different quarters in which such pieces would have once resided.

"She then seized upon the ready availability during the Depression of some of the country's finest architects and interior designers.

"By 1940, Thorne and her team of skilled craftsmen made over 100 pint-size 'period rooms.' They constitute a beguilingly timeless bit of child's play: a series of lushly lived-in pasts, chambers haunted by distant presences you feel certain have just left the premises - or are poised to enter at any moment from a flower-strewed side garden, a rear entrance foyer or the top of a lovely front-hallway staircase."

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on April 17, 2020


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PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Chagall Windows.


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