Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Oak Park Pilgrimage that wasn't

Well, the good folks at the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park threw me a curveball by taking the day off on Labor Day- so despite my promise from lastweek, I have no report from the Hemingway birthplace and museum to give you. But that small hiccup, in an otherwise fantastic trip to Chicago, just gives me one more reason to return to the Windy City. What a great town.

Now, by way of consolation, here are a few libraries I snapped at the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago. The pictures are crappy because  a) they’re taken with my phone, and  b) these intricately hand-crafted “rooms” are not much bigger than a shoebox diorama. But they are amazing. (The fibers you see in the rug below are single threads.)

English library of the Queen Anne period, 1702-1714:

English rotunda and library of the Regerncy period, 1810-20:

French library of the Modern period, 1930s:

And here's one I pulled off the interwebs for scale:

If you're ever at the Art Institute, go see the Seurat and American Gothic and all the other highlights, but by all means, make sure you hit the Thorne Miniatures on the Lower Level. They'll blow your mind.


  1. The Art Institute is one of my favorite places in the world (I'm a Chicago suburban-ite). We actually went there for my bachelorette party (what? nerd? me?) Although I'd been there many times, that was the first time I discovered the Thorne Miniatures! The Seurat is amazing of course... my favorite has always been Monet's Haystacks. I could (and have) stand in front of them for hours! Thanks for the "re-visit"!

    1. Yes, as an Atlantan I came away very jealous. The most impressive piece of art at the High Museum in Atlanta, is the Renzo Piano-designed building that houses the rest of the collection.