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.