Thursday, 12 February 2009

Matryoskha Syndrome..........

Most miniaturists will be well acquainted with Matryoshka Syndrome. Named after the brightly painted wooden Russian dolls which nest one inside the other, going from large right down to itsy bitsy small.

Matryoshka Syndrome is the name given to the process of having one idea which then spawns another and another, each more refined than the last but all on a similar theme.

No it isn't..........I just made that up. But there should be something called Matryoshka Syndrome which works in exactly that way.

My latest bout of Matryoshka Syndrome was contracted by working on my little Victorian wickerwork prams. As with any idea for a new miniature, I began with research, and checked out all the primary sources I could find, both on the internet and from within my sizeable reference library of books on costume, vintage toys, Victorian childhood etc. One book which I refer to regularly is the Victorian Nursery Book which is chock full of illustrations and primary source material, "offering an intriguing glimpse into the genteel and privileged world of that distinctively Victorian institution, the nursery".

After checking out designs for a pram, I idly perused the chapter on the nursery playroom, and that's when the first symptoms of Matryoshka Syndrome manifested themselves. Reading the description of a particularly charming nursery described in a book of 1881 (Decoration and Furniture of Town Houses by R W Edis) I began to formulate a plan to try to recreate something similar in miniature.

Now, it's not as if I'm short of things to do.

I have the Thame Fair to attend in less than 10 days, and of course I am behind with work (as ever). I haven't even started on my toy shop basement. The last thing I should be thinking about is a new project. But it has got under my skin. So much so that I have managed to track down another primary source for the princely sum of $2.

It's called The Victorian Child by F. Gordon Roe, who was himself a Victorian child and whose childhood anecdotal memories form the basis of his book. He became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society so was well-placed to write a social history of Victorian childhood. The book just arrived this morning, so I have only had time to flick through it and breathe in its 'old bookshop' mustiness. Although published in London over 50 years ago, my copy was originally sold by the Holliday Bookshop, 119 East 54th St, New York, according to the discreet little label stuck inside the back cover. I do love these little snippets of history which sometimes accompany lucky finds.........I wonder if the bookshop still exists? Might have a secret tryst with the Google displacement goblins later...........

Anyhoo, so there's my bedtime reading for the next week or so. Oh and I've created a folder on my desktop to file any interesting photos or snippets of information I come across.

Just in case.

It's called Victorian Nursery Ideas.

Just in case.

Just in case I suddenly find myself with lots of spare time on my hands and feel at a bit of a loose end.


1 comment:

Richard de pesando MA(RCA) said...

I use a spare blog as a picture scrapbook for work ideas, it's a lot easier than keeping stuff on the desktop or the hard drive - you can make it public if you want to share and it can be all indexed and labeled to make it searchable, you can add comments, links and references - just a thought etc.

works for me.