Thorne Rooms

Narcissa Niblack Thorne was born in Indiana in 1882 and moved to Chicago, IL as a child.

She was known for her extremely detailed 1:12 scale miniature rooms. Her works depict historical interiors from Europe, Asia and North America from the late 13th to the early 20th century. The Thorne rooms are honored with dedicated exhibits in the Art Institute of Chicago, where a special wing was built to house them, the Phoenix Art Museum, and the Knoxville Museum of Art.

I recently came across Thorne’s work while searching the Chicago Art Institute’s permanent exhibits on their website. As a child, I went on a field trip to the Chicago Art Institute and had a vivid memory of a specific painting but couldn’t recall anything about it other than what it looked like. The painting turned out to be “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat but in the process of the search, I stumbled upon the Thorne Rooms which I have no recollection of from my visit as a child but was immediately drawn in by the incredible detail and attention to accuracy.

Click a picture in the mosaic below to begin the slide show.

If you really like the Thorne Rooms, check out the two Museum links and there is also a coffee table style book on her work. Since the museum collections are behind glass, some of the best photographs are only on their sites or in the book.

The Chicago Art Institute has a webpage dedicated to the Thorne Rooms. Click the “View Featured Works” link to get detailed information.

Chicago Art Institute’s Thorne Page

Also, the Knoxville Museum of Art’s Thorne webpage has a slide show at the bottom that you can get detailed information about specific rooms they have in their collection.

Knoxville Museum of Art’s Thorne Page

Click HERE to go back to the main index of miniatures

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