Sunday, 22 November 2020

The Green Dining Room

Firstly, I'd like to apologise to all Bloggers I follow for not posting comments recently.    For some reason I haven't received Blog updates from a lot of you and when I did, it was posts (in one instance) from 8 years ago - a Blog that is no longer updating.   Hopefully that issue is now resolved I can follow and comment as before.

So, onward.   The Green Dining room is now complete.   It took longer than I thought given I had to search for just the right item in some cases and one or two items were custom made but it's done now and I'm pleased with it.   Enjoy!

The little Silent Companion was made from a printed off picture and supported at the back.    The foot warmer is from Arjen Spinhoven (I've added his link in a previous post) and I made the pattens.

The chair (back left) was an inexpensive barewood item varnished and upholstered and the other chairs were purchased from Masters Miniatures and the table was a long ago item from Ashwood Designs Miniatures

The Game Pie and Pomegranates displayed on the table were custom made for me by Merry Gourmet Miniatures.     There is still one item missing from the room, namely two partridges to the left of the Gervais painting on the back wall but hopefully I'll have them soon.

The Fourth Wall has been posted previously.

The above is the completed version of the Green Dining Room in the Dennis Sever House (my Silk Weaver), Spitalfields, London and below, the actual room.



  * With thanks to the Dennis Sever House for permission to use the above pictures.

I hope everyone is keeping well and safe    Hopefully it wont be too long before we can all get to much needed mini fairs!


Monday, 27 July 2020

A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Isn't lockdown a great thing for the miniaturist?

Firstly, thank you all for your lovely comments on my previous post and thoughts regarding the glass bell fitted next to the cruisie.    The next time I am in touch with my contact at the Dennis Sever house I shall make a point of asking her it's actual purpose!

I've finally got over my procrastination of creating a coat and tricorn hat.   I've found umpteen excuses not to start this - not the right fabric for the coat, not the right fabric for the hat, no pattern, no starch, no time so I'm now pleased to say "I've done it"!

I've never created something like this in miniature hence the faffing and avoidance tactics.   First things first, buy a book.

This turned out to be a great find.   I'm not interested in the "dressing dolls" part of it but there are patterns galore for every period and style from swanky coats and tricorn hats for gentlemen to pinnies and mob caps for the servant girls.    Well done to all you miniature doll makers/dressers out there.  I applaud your patience!

Once I sorted out my pattern I had to create a prototype.   This was done using a piece of white cotton and glue.

Once I was happy with that I set about putting together the actual item I needed.    The hat proved a tad awkward given that the felt I used was a bit thick and no glue I had seemed to want to stick.   I managed that around the brim but given the felt was so thick the instruction "wrap around a pencil" didn't work.    In the end I just used a few tiny stitches to keep it all in place.

As this item is not for dressing a doll but part of dressing a room a prop had to be put together to replicate the door this item would be hanging from.    Foam board, foil and pins did the job admirably.   A quick blast of starch and it was left overnight.

It worked!    I was pretty chuffed with that given it's a first.   There is another tricorn hat and a cap required for this room and items pop up in other spaces but at least I don't have to do it again for a while!

Below is the scene I'm replicating.   As this is the "fourth wall" I had to use a picture of the dresser to the right of the coat as the door closes on the central divider of the house.   It also meant I had to cut the cornice and floor short but as it's the fourth wall, I'm not bothered by that.    The pictures show King William (of Orange) and Queen Anne hence the ribbon.


The next thing on my Dining Room "to do" list was a notice board.   I'd put this task off as well as it meant searching for suitable documents to reduce and print.    However, I got that done at the weekend and, using a really good picture as reference, managed to put that together and fix it in place.


Phew, that worked!

Next to come was another tricorn to sit on a corner of the painting of Isaac Jervais -


Followed by a bonnet hanging on the wall to the right of the painting featuring Elizabeth Jervais - the same bonnet as worn in the portrait - 


Finally, a pair of pattens - 

These are positioned on a foot warmer (a kit purchased from Arjen Spinhoven).


(I discovered recently that it was considered very bad manners not to remove your pattens on entering someone's home).

** With many thanks again to the Dennis Sever House for permission to use their photographs.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Cruisie Lamps

Work is progressing slowly with the Green Dining Room but as I'm about to start on something I've not done before, I'm procrastinating although I've told myself I have to get on with it - more on that in another post. 

Meanwhile I've been searching around trying to find cruisie lamps in miniature.

The double cruisie lamp is primarily a domestic lamp with origins in Scotland and Ireland.   Also known, in other parts of the country as a Betty lamp.

These little oil/fat burning lamps were used mostly by the poor.   The top pan being filled with the substance and a wick added.    I have heard, although I don't know how true it is, that the Scottish had the double pan because we're so tight nothing was wasted and any drips were collected in the bottom pan and reused!   Animal tallow was preferred but fish oil could also be used although this was smokey and had a terrible smell.

In the working Kitchen of my Silk Weaver house the central ceiling light is a cruisie lamp with a glass fixture next to it.   I'm not sure of the purpose of the glass fixture, maybe it prevented smoke filtering into the room, but as it's there in the RL house, I've added it.

After much searching and enquiring of various miniaturists I was able to place an order for my little cruisies with Susan of Ashwood Designs.    This is a new item created by them and I think they're just marvellous.  Exactly what I was looking for.    Thank you again, Susan.    They were also able to provide me with a choice - wick or no wick so of course I had to have both!

* With thanks to Ashwood Designs for permission to use their photograph

This morning has been taken up with me finally getting the Kitchen finished with the addition of this little lamp.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Progress with the Green Dining Room

Hello followers and thank you so much for the lovely comments you left on my last post.   They are very much appreciated and I'm pleased you all like what I'm doing with this.

It would be too easy for me to charge ahead with this project to the detriment of my other two properties that I took a step back and concentrated on one of the others but the time has come to get back into the Green Dining Room.

This is my progress so far.

I've added a photo of the real property further down so you can see exactly what I'm trying to achieve.

The "painting" to the left is George II.   The table covering is a rug.   Thankfully I was able to find one the exact width.    (These things don't happen that often!)    

I've concentrated my efforts on the left hand side of the room as there are still a few bits I need to complete the right hand side.

Unfortunately there was nothing I could do about the glare with the lighting.   I think it must just be reflecting off the PVA I used to finish the copies.

Below is the real thing.   Some photos show the open doorway and some show it covered.   I went with covered as it was the easier option!

* With thanks to the Dennis Sever House for permission to use their pictures.

There are still some bits to add to the table scene - a couple of birds to hang from the left of the painting and a tricorn hat for the right hand side.   I'm going to try and make the hat and I had been waiting for a fair to get the birds but that's on hold for the time being.

Below, I've tried to show my little corner and the RL corner for comparison.

* With thanks to the Dennis Sever House for permission to use their pictures.

While I would love to have "like for like" minis to complete the scene, it's sometimes not always possible to find the right thing in mini so I've tried to create something that looks the part.

Below is another chance to see where all this work is actually going!

*With thanks to the Dennis Sever House for permission to use their pictures.

So, now that I have the best part of today to "play" I'll see how I get on with a tricorn hat, and a mob cap!

I hope you are all keeping well and busy.   Stay safe!

Saturday, 18 January 2020

The Green Dining Room

Happy New Year followers!

Work has now started on the Green Dining Room and I'm slowly collecting all the necessary pieces required.  The photo below shows what I'm aiming for.     (With thanks to the Dennis Sever House)

*Copyright Ben Rea

I started with the fireplace, building it up slowly with mountboard.

The best way to deal with the walls was to create them individually using mountboard and adding the panelling.   

The windows to the right will be fake as it's tricky trying to recreate a building that has staircases, corridors and rooms off other rooms and getting it all to fit and appear believable in a front opening house.    That is why I'm working very closely with the drawing shown above.   The artist has dealt with the building as a cross-section whereas I am showing it as "face on".

The history of the imaginary family living in this building covers the years 1724 to 1914 and show their rise and decline in the silk industry.    The green Dining Room shows them very much on the up.

 Tile printies were used inside the fireplace along with bricks using a stencil and compound.

Meet Isaac Jervais* and his wife, Elizabeth*.   The decorative bow on Elizabeth's dress in the painting is displayed on the frame.    Above the fireplace is King George III.   

*Copyright Roelof Bakker

To get the same lighting effect on each of the paintings, 1/24th scale lights were used with shell findings attached.

To achieve the external atmosphere as seen through the windows, I googled "18th century London fog" and this is what I got...…..


Hopefully my next post wont be as long in coming.   Still lots to do and lots to add.