Under 10cm

Image of Georgian glass dioramaA recent holiday mooching in Normandy provided lots of new things to look at. The landscape was somewhat familiar but the houses and markets and history were not.

A favourite visit was to the Manoir de Saussey. A lovely house and garden. Complete, when I was there, with a rather exotic artist sat in said garden, painting the scenery. Although not painting it very well.

The Manoir has a few exhibition rooms open to the public. One was full of fraying textiles and shell ladies. One had a display of antique glass in it.

But the other – the other! – two rooms of miniature figures and scenes that got my camera finger twitching. I love small things, models, toys, furniture. I like to see how much detail can be crammed in to one small figure. And I like the surreal images that sometimes result from photographing them. I did a set of models in the Science Museum. And now I have a set of Manoir de Saussey models, too.

The individual figures I photographed were lined up in a sage green taffeta-lined wall case. No idea of their provenance, my French doesn’t reach that far. But they were lovely, camp, Fragonard-esque and even a bit dark (see the ‘wolf and the lamb’ and the ‘ram’). The chap with his eyebrows was particularly memorable. They were all made in the 18th century and none were bigger than 10cm. Small yet beautifully wrought.

The other photographs I took were of scenes built in glass cases, mostly religious in origin. They were fantastic; layered with detail, paper buildings, glass bead houses, paper men, paper insects and glass people. Again most were made in the 18th century.

The combination of the setting of the Manoir, the sunny-after-rain day and a supply of rare, small, wonderful things to look at –  made this one happy snapper.

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