Room box #4: Foyer and Miss Lemon’s office!
I’m very excited about this newest 1:12-scale miniature room. It’s the first one I’ve made that is “two rooms in one,” with a partition and an adjoining door. Actually, it’s the first with any doors at all.
I decided to go for a “white-and-chrome” look in the foyer, which is more in keeping with Poirot’s flat than brass accents. However, brass is much more common in the world of dollhouse minis. Those wall sconces and the little table lamp weren’t cheap! The picture frame (featuring a nicely-symmetrical ship prow), the hat rack, and one of the canes were originally brass-colored; I went over them with Art Alchemy’s Metallique Wax in Old Silver. I also added silver sticker strips to the mirror and silver beads to the hall table legs. There is a little set of brass keys on a tray on the hall table, and I did decide to keep the door accents in the brass color.
I love niches! When I realized the foyer was going to be white-heavy, I couldn’t resist adding this smooth, chic plaster element. The statue is a miniature plastic St. Joseph, which I also covered in the Metallique Wax to change it from gold to silver. I loved the little table underneath; Poirot would have liked all those right angles, I think. 🙂 The little silver vases have tufts of mini landscaping grass and a couple of plastic eggcups– there may be a couple of decorative and identically-sized eggs to be added in the future. 🙂
A closer view of the wall, including the little dish of Belgian chocolates. Wonder how I got that shot behind the lamp, with the partition in the way? Easy– the partition isn’t fixed in. I removed it to get a better shot. You can see my hand in the mirror and a view of the office beyond!
Here are a few views of the office. I hunted down all the filing pieces I could find for this room! The black-framed “pictures” on the wall are actually intarsia pendants. They are inlaid stone– onyx and picture jasper. There was nowhere to put any plants, so I settled for placing some “wax flowers” under a display dome on top of the dark brown filing cabinet. Also, I have not managed to procure her a typewriter yet!
I haven’t put the curtain up yet, either. You can see acrylic craft paint bottles peeking through the window. 🙂 That brass clock really works, if I get a battery into it. It reminded me of the clock Miss Lemon gets in the episode The Dream.
In the desk organizer are a pair of black-rimmed spectacles, an adding machine, a pen, paper pad, and another little clock (non-working). The framed pictures are actually of a typist. The tiny one shows her hands typing away at her machine.
This is fun– a view through the window, into the office, and beyond the open door into the foyer!! 😀
New room box underway: foyer and Miss Lemon’s office
Room box #4 is in the planning stages. This one is a little different, as it’s two “rooms” in one and will feature a partition. Here’s the setup I’m playing with, starting with the foyer on the left…
The foyer is meant to be in white and silver, generally, except for the brass of the door fixtures. I’m thinking of going over the brass coat rack with silver to match the lamps.
The hall table with mirror, wall sconces, and spots for depositing hats and canes. On the table is a bowl of Belgian chocolates, a white “leaf” plate with a ring of keys on it, and a vase of roses. I wanted the hall table to be rectangular, but oh well… 🙂 I’m going to add “frosted” white glass globes to the candle wall sconces to make them look more modern. I will probably also trim the brown hat on the rack, which is Miss Lemon’s.
I wanted a dish of Belgian chocolates on the foyer table– in part, because a dish of chocolates features in Chapter 6 of my original Poirot novel, The London Syndicate. 😀 But unlike that story, these chocolates are meant to be good ones! I took some super-tiny seashells and used silicone putty to make a mold of them. I then combined white and brown Premo Sculpey clay to create that marbled chocolate effect that traditional Belgian chocolate shells have, and hey! presto, a dish of goodies. 🙂
And now for Miss Lemon’s office, land of filing…
I hunted down all the filing units I could! The result was a bit of mismatch color-wise, but I thought it was worth it. Still missing a number of items, like the all-important typewriter, a few lamps, and so on, but the organization’s coming along. There will be a window in the wall behind the desk. I might possibly move the smallest “bookshelf” into the foyer… not sure yet.
I took a new photo after deciding to stick one of my miniature clocks on that bookshelf! It reminds me of the episode The Dream! 🙂
Probably not all of this stuff will stay on this shelf, but I liked the idea of a little bowl of lemons to indicate the office occupant! The bowl on the right has the rest of the chocolates I made up with my mold; they’re not really necessary for the scene, especially if I keep the cute little candy jar.
The file cabinet on the left originally had round knobs on ALL of the drawers. I took them off and replaced them with hand-cut “metal” labels and drawer pulls to make it look more like a filing system. I meant to have that desk organizer on the desk, but it’s too big. Still deciding whether to dispense with it altogether.
Currently, a teeny deck of Tarot cards resides in the desk– also an episode reference.
The entire scene so far, sans room box and partition…
Miniature room box #2: The study
I’ve been mostly finished the miniature study for some time, but I’ve been waiting for ages to get the shelves I ordered. Well, they came yesterday at last! There are still one or two things I’m waiting on, a standing lamp in particular, so I borrowed a lamp from the sitting room to help light things up in the meantime. Here it is…
Here’s a bit of an overhead view of the desk. On it, you can see a little green-shaded desk lamp, a calendar (anachronistically dated 2006!), a black vintage phone, a letter-holder, an inkstand and letter-opener, and that little verdigris antelope statuette that Poirot has on his desk in the latter episodes. (I made that out of Sculpey and painted it.) Also part of the desk set is a blotter, a fountain pen, a magnifying glass, and a bridge score pad. Perhaps Poirot is investigating Cards on the Table? 🙂 I made the chair on the right with some bendy brass rods and upholstered it with the same fabric I used on the window curtain and the cushions in the sitting room– the chair is actually very unstable! I was delighted to have found the brass clothing valet in the back left there, which you can also see in his study in the latter episodes. The floor lamp actually belongs on a table in the sitting room; I brought it here for a bit more light. The little bonsai tree I also made, not liking the ones I saw in stores, and put it on a little Art Deco table with scissors on the shelf beneath.
You may have seen this shot before, but I’ve made changes. The Japanese prints are still there, but I’ve exchanged white lilies for yellow irises (in reference to the story). The mini clock here really works; it’s very Art Deco-looking. I scored it off a friend of a friend for $1. 🙂 The ashtray includes a tiny black cigarette, the kind it is Poirot’s affectation to smoke. The brass coat rack really doesn’t belong here; that’s where the standing lamp is supposed to be. It would be an inconvenient location for a coat rack. But I live in hope of one day making a fourth room, a hallway and perhaps Miss Lemon’s office.
The scene of Prague appears in several places in the earlier episodes, most noticeably in the sitting room of his flat. I stuck it here in the study with a picture light. The mini barometer I made as a model of the one in his second flat (see the first bit of Third Girl for a good glimpse of it). I believe that one was loaned to the set by Suchet, who apparently collects barometers. The chess set is pretty self-explanatory. The umbrella and cane stand is meant to be transferred to Future Room #4 as mentioned above. 🙂 The Chinese curio shelf includes such trifles as a ball of malachite, a sheep figurine, a compass, a crystal specimen or two, and a Chinese coin.
The bookshelf is one of the most fun parts of the room. Delightful to fill it up! The “pottery” on the top shelf are actually dollar store beads. 🙂 I moved things from elsewhere to the shelf, including the running deer statue, the copy of Murder on the Orient Express, the copy of Blue Train (on the top right, propped up), and the globe that I used to have on the desk.
Detail. Notice the golden sphinx figurine (a reference to Poirot’s journeys to Egypt). I also moved First Steps in Russian to the bottom left shelf, as it was too big to stand up!
On the second shelf on the left, you can see a Pieta statuette; it is holding up the loose books in that shelf, including the one right next to it: Agatha Christie’s A Pocket Full of Rye!
More detail. On the bottom shelf is a series of medical reference books– VERY useful! Also, I painted up a series of Ariadne Oliver novels, which are next to them. You may remember that Poirot has a set of her books in his office, right behind his chair. 🙂 The turquoise “jar” is another bead.
The mantel clock
The lovely Art Deco mantel clock that appears in Poirot’s second flat has a fun history. It was acquired by David Suchet and used as a prop for the show (as is the stylin’ barometer in the front hall).
I decided to make a little model of it for my miniature room. It’s skinnier than the original; all the better to fit into a small space. 😉 I used a sterling silver dog charm (loop cut off) for the statue part– the dog in the original looks rather like a Doberman, but the best charm I found for my purposes happens to be a Great Dane. The agate bases are rectangular cabochons that I ordered from Estonia. The rest is metallic cardstock, beads, transparent plastic, and a bit of paint.
Poirot himself had a model of a foxhound he bought with his winnings from his bet with Giraud in The Murder on the Links (he names it Giraud, in fact). 🙂
“Good pictures”: the Japanese prints in Poirot’s study
When I see art used for the set, I tend to be curious as to where it came from. In Taken at the Flood, David Hunter and Rosalind are perusing Poirot’s new flat. Hunter wryly comments on the “good pictures” that Poirot has, referencing a couple of Japanese wood block prints. You were wondering about those prints that caught Hunter’s eye, weren’t you? Of course you were… 😉
I finally managed to track down the one on the right, anyway. It appears to be by Kunisada II: “Actors Bandô Hikosaburô V as Akogi Gennojô and Onoe Kikugorô IV as the Female Street Musician (Onnadayû) Ohaya.” This print was purchased and had been donated to an American museum by the early 20th century.
Japanese wood block prints became fashionable throughout Europe in the 19th century, and the art of Japan came to influence genres from clothing fashion to the fine arts. Van Gogh was an avid collector of Japanese prints, and the flat, vivid, outlined imagery would come to be seen in his own work and that of others of the Post-Impressionist and Expressionist movements. Poirot’s second flat was full of the fashionably continental.
And it would be a picture of actors, wouldn’t it. 🙂
I included miniature paintings of these two prints in my own 1:12-scale Poirot study.
Miniature room box #3: The bedroom
Poirot’s flat, dollhouse miniature style!
Currently I have two room boxes in the works for the sitting room and study of Poirot’s flat. The rooms aren’t replicas of the sets, but I use elements from the sets (including both flats) plus some of my own observations from the books.
I was excited to get my cut MDF pieces from my friends, the Harders, this evening. The sitting room is the first room box. I painted up the walls right away, added paper parquet flooring and baseboards, and glued it all together. Here’s how it looked:
Then came the fun of adding the details! Here’s the current flat-in-progress…
Coming soon, I hope… the study! 😀
Poirot’s sitting-room painting of… Prague?
Since I’ve been creating certain set pieces in miniature, it has led to an investigation of various artworks that appear in Poirot’s flat(s). For fans of the show, one of the best-known paintings has to be the muted architectural scene that appears behind the fruit bowl in Flat #1. I’ve previously blogged about how Poirot seems to have been abnormally attached to this piece: it was first situated in his Belgian apartment building; then he seems to have nabbed it and take it to his first English residence in Styles St. Mary; and even after he “retires” to grow vegetable marrows, he conveys it to The Larches!
I became curious about that image, and reverse-image-searching for it online had yielded no results. After creating a miniature of it, however, I decided to try again. The painting seemed a bit of an anomaly with Poirot’s other flat furnishings, I thought. In light of how the painting travels with him from Belgium, it would make sense if the picture itself was by a Belgian artist, just to connect it with the character. Indeed, I wondered if it might be a copy or print of a François Jean Louis Boulanger, a 19th-century Belgian artist (he’s called French in that link– don’t believe it!) whose style of “romantic realism” is strongly allied to the image. He painted a number of Ghent and Brussels cityscapes, so surely that would be a logical reason for the presence of that picture in the sitting room. But searching yielded nothing.
But a closer scrutiny revealed the building in Poirot’s picture as actually being the Bridge Tower of the famous Charles Bridge of Prague, Czech Republic! So much for the Belgian angle. After that revelation, further searching finally revealed the origin of the image. No paintings came up, incidentally, but a lithograph by one Vinzenz Morstadt (Czech) did:
Considering the composition, I think there can be no doubt that the painting in the sitting room was modeled after this particular lithograph. Whether the lithograph was also a painting by Morstadt that was copied, or was painted by another of his contemporaries (of whom Boulanger was one), or was just created by Joe Set Designer for the room because it looked Fittingly Continental, I cannot say. But at least most of that mystery is now elucidated, though why Poirot would be keen on a painting of Prague landmarks I also can’t say. (Incidentally, Suchet traveled to Prague for the very first time a couple of years ago. I wonder if fans in Prague have long been delighted at the sight of one of their best-known landmarks behind Poirot’s fruit bowl…?) 🙂
Building a miniature fireplace…
I’ve been well and truly bitten by the miniature bug. I’ve painted miniatures before, but haven’t done much concentrated building in three dimensions (with the exception of my Poirot library). But now I’ve got designs on building vignettes of a miniature flat…
Here are some photos from my construction project of a miniature fireplace. It’s made out of balsa wood, foam board, heavy kraft paper, and illustration board (which is versatile stuff). It’s painted with acrylics, and the “marble” mantle top is illustration board, painted and then glazed. The figurine of the running deer was a different plastic miniature which I painted white and attached to a balsa base– I didn’t sculpt it. 😉