Tuesday, February 20, 2024

A Visit to the Phoenix Art Museum, Part Three

For our third virtual visit to the Phoenix Art Museum, I want to take you to see the Thorne Rooms, a fantastic collection of miniature rooms. (The museum has twenty of the original thirty rooms.) I apologize in advance for the poor quality of the photos. The lighting was terrible, the reflections on the glass were brutal, the room was crowded, and I couldn't "pretzel" myself into stances that could've allowed for better angles and better photographs. Hopefully what I do share will give you a taste of these fabulous works of art.

From the Phoenix Art Museum website:
"...the Thorne Rooms represent a fascinating world in miniature. Created at an exacting scale of one inch to one foot, several of the rooms replicate actual spaces found in the United States and Europe, while the remainder were inspired by the architecture and interior design of their respective periods and countries. These rooms were conceived, designed, and, in large part, crafted by Indiana native Narcissa Niblack Thorne (1882-1966), who began to collect miniature furniture and household accessories during her travels to England and Asia shortly after the turn of the 20th century.

This is an exhibit I could visit again and again. There are always new details that jump out at you with a second look.

American Colonial Bedroom, 1740-1750. Sometimes the ghost of the photographer can be seen in the glass. *sigh*

English Georgian Library, 1714-1820.

Of course I'm going to gravitate toward books, even if they are too small to read!

English Adam Dining Room, 1762-1794.

Look at the detail on the walls and ceiling!

English Jacobean Hall, 1603-1649. Probably my favorite room in this collection. The ceiling, the walls...

The window and windowseat...

The dog by the fireplace... I could see myself using this room a lot if it were real.

Italian Dining Room, c. 1500. The objects featured in this room come from a variety of sources and represent Thorne's skill as a designer. The wooden shutters, corner chimneypiece, and decorated ceiling beams are inspired by room found in the famous 14th-century Davanzetti Palace in Florence, Italy. The silver on the table and sideboard came from antique shops in Rome and Florence, and the tiny straw-wrapped wine bottle is from Orvieto, a small Italian town that sits on top of a hill known for its wine. Thorne found two rare pieces of needlework, seen on the back wall, in Vienna, Austria. The two chests beneath the tapestries were Thorne's only attempt at woodcarving.

Detail from the Italian dining room.

Even though the photo quality was very poor, I hope you were able to see how incredible these miniature rooms are. Next Wednesday, I'll conclude our virtual tour with a stroll through the Western American art wing of the museum.


  1. Wow! There's such rich detail in each of these pictures, Cathy! It's hard to believe just from looking that they're miniatures. It must have been amazing to actually see them. That museum is a treasure trove!

  2. I don't think the quality is poor, Cathy. We definitely can see these scenes. Those are so, so cool! As Margot says, 'rich detail' indeed. Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. You're welcome, Kay. I'm glad you enjoyed them.

  3. Wonderful pictures and thank you for sharing them. I would love to settle myself in one of those rooms.

  4. I think the American Colonial Bedroom is the type that we would expect to come with a ghost ;)

    I'd love to have a room with a window seat!

    1. I agree with you about the ghost in the bedroom. :-)


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