Further to my recent post on an edition of the Victorian-era Illustrated London News, Mark from over at Man of Tin blog has done a little research (nice work, Mark!). After reading through this 1863 newspaper, I had drawn attention to a classified advertisement for “The Little Modeller”, which promoted a ready-to-make model cricket field / model village with coloured engravings.
I was intrigued about the existence of Victorian miniatures and model making, so was delighted when Mark subsequently found a pristine example of this very set (H.G. Clarke and Co’s Saxton Model Village) on a New Zealand museum’s website. The quality of the museum’s photograph is tremendous and the page allows for extreme close-up zooming to see the fine details. It’s a thing of beauty and I urge visitors to go and have a look at the illustrations and composition.
The model’s dimensions are 55cm wide x 25cm high, x 23cm deep. All photography reproduced below is courtesy the Museum of New Zealand / Te Papa Tongarewa reproduced here under a creative commons license – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
It seems to be a kind of early forerunner to the paper soldiers which have been produced with great success recently by Peter Dennis’ Paperboys range of paper soldiers and landscapes.
The publisher even manages a little miniature self-advertisement “H.G. Clarke Magic Toymaker, 232 The Strand.” Clarke’s old headquarters address today is a c.1900 building called Thanet House situated opposite The Royal Courts of Justice in London.
They remind me a little of the BBC Paddington animations from the 1970s produced by Film Fair with their finely drawn 2D figures. I’d be very interested to see Clarke and Co’s cricket field too!