Miniature Murder, She Wrote

Frances Glessner Lee created her crime-scene miniatures to assist, and in a sense develop, the training of forensic investigators. Using real dollhouse furniture and dolls, the miniatures are, however, anything but toys.

Thwarted in her quest to become a doctor, this Gilded-age heiress constructed tiny rooms from descriptions of real crime scenes, so accurate they contained correct blood spatter patterns. A sculpture series in its own right, the diminutive rooms subvert all notions of domestic bliss. Viewing the doll corpses and wee murder weapons is to enter a dystopian wonderland of murder, suicide, accident, and mayhem.

Exhibited at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC several years ago, where they were the subject of a book, “The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death,”  Lee’s pieces deserve a permanent home on public display.

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