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Golden age of miniatures


nealemalbert

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nealemalbert

My name is Neale Albert. I have been purchasing the finest miniatures since the early days of the Kendinggon show. It is my impression that the number of makers if the very finest pieces, let's call them master pieces, today is way below what it used to be. When I started collecting seriously I would purchase the best pieces in the very few minutes (or even before) of the Kensington show. Then I started to commission pieces. From that period I have the finest pieces made by Sue Bakker, Galia BAZYLKO, Gail Bantock, Jill Bennett, Ian Berry, Paul Briggs, Judith Dunger, David Edwards, Barry Hipwell, Alan McKurdy, Pierre Mourey, Tricia STreet , David Ward ... The list goes on. Sure, there are still some people of that level still working. To name a few-- Mulvany and Rogers, James Carrington, Johannes Landsman, Jens Toro, Bill Robertson. I do believe that there was a golden age of fine miniatures which is now over, do others agree or disagree with me ?

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Moderator 2

I think you will find quite a few more on this forum than the names you mentioned above of present makers. And I think the standards for fine miniatures are still raising all the time.

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I think you can still find little jewels. But as it is time consuming making an outstanding piece, there isn't an overload of it. 

But I do not think there ever was.

Probably some expertise has gone lost over the years, that is natural, but new miniaturists have stepped up to the plate, making outstanding work.

 

For myself I have noticed that I have been a bit 'spoiled' over the years.

For instance: a couple of years ago I was in awe with Jens Torps' silver.

Oh if I could ever purchase such a piece... Now I own several and it has become the standard.

I do not even look at silver that does not equal that finesse, or beauty,or however you want to call it, anymore.

Standards seem to rise as we see more beauty.

 

By the way, as I can thouroughly enjoy beauty without owning it ;) I would love to take a peek at what you have collected.

Do you have a blog or a website where I can admire your collection?

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Wm. R. Robertson

This is a interesting subject, has the "Golden Age of Miniatures" passed or is it not here yet?........ I know of one person working on a Masters Thesis on this subject. What I can say is that in my 37 years in this business I have seen a lot of change and things are different than they once were. Trends come and go, for example in the late 1970 s there were a lot of artists making American brown furniture, Shaker, Colonial and Victorian..... But the late 80 s it was gilded French furniture seen everywhere.

One thing that causes change is how the market effects what people create. There was a time years ago where there were a number of collectors going to almost every show that would buy the best of the best, their tastes covered almost every period so an artist knew that they could make the best of anything and it would sell at the first big show they took it too. When these people stopped buying the market for the highest end major pieces dropped off and therefor the artist adjusted to less complex pieces. Fast forwarding to today there are still collectors buying the best of the best with every bit as much "buzz" as there used to be, the difference is their tastes are not as predictable as in the past therefor keeping artists to hold back however many great pieces are still being commissioned.

Another factor is the aging and passing of traditional craftsman. Many of the English cabinetmakers had spent their young years apprenticing to the trade and them spent a career working there. Only after did they switch to miniatures and continue to use their skills. In modern times craftsman rarely go through such a traditional method and hence don't bring a lifetime of acquired skills to their miniature bench. As they die off they are not being replaced, they can't.

But now we have tools that didn't exists not long ago, what will happen when someone refined computer CNC skills puts there attention to doing a French Boule or marquetry piece? I am not ready to predict the future.

I think the best we can do is inspire young and upcoming craftsman and then see what they do.

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I agree. The future is amazing to think about, and we have to broaden our horizons and encourage people to think outside the box, in real life as well as in miniatures.

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WeekendMiniaturist

While I have never seen Sue Bakker's petitpoint with my own eyes,  or in person from a collection, I do believe our current folks working in various textiles, in and out of the Guild are bringing some of the finest designs to our miniature world, and still see things that are stitched that I find fill me with wonder.  Sue Resseguie, Althea, Mavis, are knitters that instantly come to mind instantly that their work is most incredible!  The Petitpoint that is made from designers in France (Catherine S) and the US, Frances Peterson, Pat Richards, Annelle Feguson, Anne Ritter illustrated incredible use of color, and interpretation of the design.  I cannot speak to a "Golden Age" of miniatures as I've only been in participating in miniatures since 1996, and I've never been to the UK for a show, but I do have a complete collection of US Magazines, and a lot of miniature books from the UK and US.  I believe all collecting hobbies are subject to general economic issues, and that will also have an effect on what an artisan creates for their show.  

 

It is very important that all us continue to support the Guild's efforts to educate and foster the symbiotic relationship between Student / Collector / Artisan / Instructor.  The educational opportunities experienced at the guild help create those artisan's and I'm glad to see fabulous additional learning opportunities at Kensington and the Netherlands... and I'm most impressed with Elga's club projects in Africa.  This is how we keep our hobby growing!

 

I thought miniature books were way past my reach, and then we find Barbara!  I don't believe the Golden Age of Miniatures has passed... it just might be on hold right now for you, but the twinkle in the collector's eye definitely helps fuel that flame, keep those educational opportunities available, and we can grow the next generation!  Tamra/Indiana

 

Tamra/Indiana

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MissyBoling

I've only been seriously into miniatures for about 14 years, and most of that time my attention has been more on needlework - knitting, crochet, and petitpoint primarily.  I've seen the bar raised on those skills pretty much every year.  I would imagine that's likely the case with other areas of miniatures as well.

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