Miniature of the Month

Parget House in 144th scale by Nell Corkin

Nell Corkin, famous in the world of miniatures for her 144th-scale houses, traveled to England to study the 16th century architectural plastering technique called “pargeting” which she features on her latest work.

“I was fascinated by the pargeted houses when I first discovered them, but it took me nearly 10 years to develop a method of pargeting that worked in 1:144th scale,” explains Nell. Her research prompted a trip to Saffron Walden, a small market town in Essex, England, where historic homes exhibiting the technique still stand.

If the hand-modeled plaster evokes images of Italian stucco, you are correct. The use of pargeting in England is believed to have originated in the 1500s when Henry VIII built a grand Tudor palace called Nonsuch and hired Italian plasterers to replicate the elaborate decoration found in Italian sculpture. Wealthy English families then rushed to create the same effect on their own homes using local craftsman to create designs ranging from simple, geometric stamped patterns to ornate high-relief artwork. The plasterers, or pargeters as they were called, were so well known, the term eventually became a surname. You may recall Edith Pargeter, who wrote the historical murder mysteries The Cadfael Chronicles.

Parget House by Nell Corkin in 1/144th scale.

Nell’s Parget House is her original design measuring 2 1/4" high (not counting the chimney) by 1 15/16" wide by 1 2/16" deep sitting upon a 3" wide by 1 7/8" base. The IGMA Fellow, who also teaches at Guild School, took her inspiration from some of the half-timbered homes in Saffron Walden that were pargeted to update their exterior. She created a floral pattern similar to Elizabethan textiles she admired and the leaded windows she created were modeled after those she photographed in England. Nell’s detail work in the interior gives depth to the inside of her houses as shown in the wood beams on the walls and ceiling of the Tudor cottage. She created all the early 20th century style furniture from scratch and both fireplaces, the bed and upholstered chairs were made of cast resin from her own molds. She did add a calico cat to the bedroom which is an original sculpt by Sylvia Mobley.

Nell giving a workshop at the KSB Miniatures Collection in Maysville, Kentucky.

Nell’s newest cottage joins her five other 144th-scale structures in the collection as well as her Baroque Baby House, a collaboration with Gilbert Mena who made the magnificent inlaid walnut and exotic wood cabinet which features her three 1" by 1" by 1" furnished rooms. You can view those pieces here.


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KSB Miniatures Collection at The Kentucky Gateway Museum Center
215 Sutton Street, Maysville, Kentucky 41056 | 606-564-5865 |

Kentucky Gateway Museum Center