Small Talk

Miniature Masterworks

Miniature Masterworks

T/m, in partnership with the International Guild of Miniature Artisans (IGMA), is proud to present Miniature Masterworks, the first-ever juried showcase and sale of fine-scale miniature work. The show, a first for T/m, will be held September 15-17, 2017. Over 60 international artists have been selected to participate in the show and submit a work for the Barbara Marshall Award for Artistic Achievement. Named for the founder of T/m’s fine-scale miniature collection, the award will honor miniature artists exceeding the current standards of fine-scale miniature making.

T/m is home to the world’s largest collection of fine-scale miniatures. Show attendees will be able to tour the collection, meet the artists, attend gallery talks, and view the works submitted for the Barbara Marshall Award for Artistic Achievement.

We’ll be featuring all the artists between now and September, so check back each week to about them and their amazing work.

A Game of Put and Take

A Game of Put and Take

One of the most treasured Hanukkah traditions is of course spinning the dreidel in order to win that big pile of chocolate gelt! The game, which was popularized in sixteenth-century Germany, involves spinning a four-sided top. While this game commemorates the origins of Hanukkah, later versions of the game were created for secular play and simple gambling.

A cousin of the dreidel, the teetotum is a multi-sided top that includes either numerals or in the case of this brass model, English instructions. Popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the game of Put and Take involved two or more players spinning the teetotum and following the directions on the face-up side in order to win (or lose) money from a pot. The game, which was easily set up and could be played almost anywhere, became a huge craze in the 1920s and 1930s. The game was met with controversy in many places due to being associated with gambling and eventually faded in popularity. We’ll stick to chocolate coins, thank you!

Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass

With its gilded C-shaped curves intertwined with floral vines, this miniature mirror is unmistakably Rococo style. Popular in Europe in the eighteenth century, Rococo style came to America via imported furniture, immigrant craftsmen, and pattern books. The full-scale inspiration for this work came from a Rococo mirror in the collection of the Winterthur Museum, attributed to Philadelphia furniture maker James Reynolds.

In creating the tiny looking glass, artist William R. Robertson researched the original mirror to determine scaled measurements. Using precision tools, he then carved the mirror’s frame in wood. Lastly, the frame was coated in gold leaf and fitted with a small mirror. The result is a Rococo miniature masterpiece worthy of taking a selfie in!

Inside a Dollhouse Like No Other

Inside a Dollhouse Like No Other

When the massive Coleman Dollhouse was discovered in the Coleman family estate, it did not have its original contents. As a result, we can only guess how the six Coleman children must have played with this playhouse-like structure. When the dollhouse came to T/m, it was set up according to the style of the 1880s, using appropriately-sized furnishings and dolls.

Coleman House’s outer façade is covered in a textured finish comprised of paint and sand, a technique called rustication. The front of the house has two large hinged doors that close and lock with a skeleton key. The basement level sides also have hinged doors that reveal a billiards room and a kitchen. One of the most astonishing facts about Coleman House (other than, well, its size) is the evidence of metal pipes indicating it once had gas lighting!

A Dollhouse Like No Other

A Dollhouse Like No Other

At first glance inside T/m’s dollhouse exhibit, Let’s Play House, the gigantic Coleman Dollhouse might appear to be one of the trendy “tiny houses.” We love superlatives around here at the museum (smallest, oldest, biggest) and Coleman Dollhouse tops the dollhouse chart at over nine feet tall, eight feet wide, and four feet deep. Although it wasn’t meant to be lived in by people, it was the playtime home for some lucky children in the nineteenth century.

The grand dollhouse was originally owned by the Coleman family, who lived in a 39-room mansion in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, called The Homestead. In 1935, the Coleman family gifted The Homestead to the city. By 1961, the home had fallen into disrepair and was slated for demolition. Luckily, a salvage crew discovered the disassembled dollhouse before razing the estate. We’ll take a peek inside Coleman House next time!

Page 2 of 6512345...102030...Last »