|The Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago|
|Narcissa Niblack Thorne (May 2, 1882 – June 25, 1966)|
|Narcissa Niblack Thorne and one of her miniatures|
Frances and Narcissa were friends, neighbors and traveled in the same social circles in Chicago. Narcissa worked on her miniatures in the 1930s and 1940s, the same time Frances made the majority of her Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. Certainly, they weren't the only socialites creating miniatures, considering it was an acceptable feminine past-time for the upper classes, but their work stands out as extraordinary.
Both artists favored the one inch to one foot scale and used similar DIY techniques for creating their decor and textiles. The Thorne Miniature Rooms have no dolls, no narrative and were never intended to be teaching tools like the Nutshell Studies. Rather the Thorne Miniatures were studies in historical interiors from Europe, Asia and North America - ranging from the late 13th century to the early 20th century.
|No dead bodies. No narrative. Just pretty.|
Like Frances, Narcissa traveled throughout Europe collecting miniature furnishings and she also employed a carpenter, like Frances.
The Thorne rooms gained so much notoriety that they were displayed in several World’s Fairs. And in 1933–1934 they were included in Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition. Narcissa went on to oversee the creation of miniature European castles, museums, and historic homes. She commissioned architects to create the miniatures and had the textiles and carpets made by the Needlework Guild of Chicago. The Thorne Rooms are currently exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Phoenix Art Museum and the Knoxville Museum of Art.
Learn more about the big world of miniatures with the The National Miniature Trust.