RVA50 Object 46 “Ella Gordon Valentine Miniature Collection, circa 1985”

Ella Gordon Valentine Miniature Collection, circa 1985
Cabinet:  David M. Tyler
V.93.120.02 and .03

Ella Gordon Valentine (1933-1988) was a devoted collector of miniatures – a hobby which grew in popularity in the 1970’s as part of the larger trend of everyday Richmonders collecting. Today, Mrs. Valentine’s 9-room cabinet and contents of scale miniatures, a number of them very likely purchased from Richmond area stores, serves as both a masterfully crafted achievement of the enthusiast’s passion and a peek into late 20th-century collecting trends in our region.

Created on a scale of one inch to one foot, Valentine’s cabinet was inspired by those created in the Georgian period for adults. Containing several hundred small-scale components, this miniature masterpiece is comprised of furnishings that she purchased, engineered, or received as gifts.  The home depicts a distinctly traditional and upper class life through a playful and detail-oriented eye of a late 20th century collector.

Gift of Mr. Eugene Massie Valentine in memory of Ella Gordon Valentine, 1993