If you want to research historic interiors, where do you turn? You could buy a book like Mario Praz’s indispensible An Illustrated History of Interior Decoration; search the internet or a digital photo archive for specific dates and locations. Or, for an especially fun field trip, you could visit the Thorne Miniature Rooms.
The 1:12 scale Thorne Miniature Rooms cover European, American and Asian interiors ranging in date from the late 13th century to the 1930s. The models are the brainchild of Narcissa Ward Thorne of Chicago (daughter-in-law of Montgomery Ward co-founder Richard Thorne). She began by amassing a collection of miniature furniture from around the world. By the early 1930s she had decided to have the rooms painstakingly and perfectly executed by master craftsmen, work which continued over the next decade. Some of them replicate actual rooms that Mrs. Thorne saw in her travels, while others are simply true to period. To give an example of the level of detailed execution, in some cases period rugs were woven in miniature scale specifically to fulfill her vision! Continue reading