Mme de Pompadour 6ins across. £250.00 - a figure I painted as a test to see if I could! 😉

My last post ( haha…. how apt), provoked quite a few outbursts from my loyal readers.

Tucked at the very bottom was a line.

I’m giving up painting them in the New year.

“How can I do this?”…you cried. ” We shall miss you….”, ” You are unique!” – ( Thank you Jacky) ” No…you mustn’t!”- ( Thank you Dave ).

Not only will I be giving up painting tiny dummy boards, but I will be giving up this blog too. It’s been fun. It’s been a challenge. I loved writing and it has been a source of great pleasure to me to make you all laugh and to irritate you by turns 🙂 and…yes… educate you. It’s been a good thing for me, in that it has firmed up my knowledge of the dummy board figure and it has been a good thing for dummy boards because they needed an advocate….this all but forgotten art form.

Now I want to concentrate on my book and on collecting the ( very costly ) permissions for copyright and the ( even costlier ) permissions for photos to be reproduced. I have no more to say on the subject really unless I just put the whole book on here. And I really don’t want to do that.

There are other reasons too, why I am giving up.

You know that my health is not good. I find that painting miniatures hour upon hour is not a good thing…well…actually even just ten minutes is a trial!

I am giving up doing the shows after February 2011 too. Why is this? I think they are too high cost for returns. I think they are not proving useful to me and I know that they are detrimental to my health as it takes me weeks to recover. I cannot do them alone and Stephen has to have time off to help me. He hates doing them and being self employed he loses money if we don’t make any. Now, I wouldn’t mind too much if I was inundated with orders mid way between one show and another. But they are a mere trickle. I get perhaps  three or four a year. Commissions are very nice but I would like to sell some of the figures I have Already Painted, between shows, those that are historical replicas. That is after all why I started doing it. To offer the miniature world something they had never seen before and couldn’t really buy anywhere else. Hand painted in oils on wood.

I have come to the conclusion after about six years of making them, that the Miniature world is not yet ready for them.

I have exhibited, I have lectured, I have blogged, I have evangelised for my subject. To no avail.

I do not sell enough to make it worthwhile.

Girl with White Pinny and The Cocker Spaniel. Both sold.

I’m sure you have heard it before but if I had had a £ for every person who had – a. promised to come back and buy one or – b. thought they were absolutely brilliant and such a clever idea and blah blah…. I would be doing very well thank you.

I know my loyal followers enjoy my scribblings as much as I like to pen them…but not enough of you have put your hands into your pockets and have purchased, once you have read about my antics with my antiques ( sorry!)

So in February, after the Thame show, PastMastery mini dummy boards will be no more.

Regency bowl of fruit. Actual size. It's about an inch in real life and the most difficult piece I have ever done.

If you feel like owning one, you can either come and purchase at KDF or Thame, for the last time, I will be having a SALE! Or you can e mail me and tell me what you might like, from my existing figures. I am doing no further commissions.

Those of you who, who are owners of a PastMastery figure may, in the fullness of time, hopefully, think that they have a unique item which is a limited edition and which I trust will become a real collector’s item.

From this post till I finish I will concentrate on my silly stories illustrated by dummy board photos.

This I know you buy!

The Candle Girl who lights up!

Thanks to all those who I haven’t mentioned who have sent messages of support. They are much appreciated.

And a swansong?

There is a beautiful madrigal by Orlando Gibbons ( click here to hear a wonderful rendition by the Hilliard Ensemble.)

The Silver Swan who living had no note, when death approached unlocked her silent throat.

Leaning her breast against the reedy shore, has sung her first and last and sung no more.

Farewell all joys, oh death come close mine eyes,

More geese than swans now live more fools than wise!

Sums up how sad I feel I think.


14 Responses to “Swansong?”

  1. Sandra Says:


    I can’t believe that you are going to stop making your amazing miniature dummy boards.
    AND the blog!!
    Both Small Dog and I are devastated.
    I am so pleased and proud to be the owner of an original commissioned dummy board… you will be a sad loss to the miniature artisan world.

    Sandra x

  2. pastmastery Says:

    Bless you…I might’ve guessed you would be the first one!

    Thanks for your support…. you are of course one of those that DID put their hand in their pocket!

    And I am grateful….


  3. Louise Goldsborough Says:

    Oh I am so sorry that you are not continuing with your lovely miniature work. You are such a talented artist.

    However, I hope that you will be able to enjoy persuing other dreams that give you much pleasure.

    I understand completely why you are dissappointed in the amount of people who have admired your work but not bought it. It is a sad fact for many artists. I too would be very very rich indeed if everyone who had admired my dolls had bought one. This is so often the way for so many talented artists.

    If ever you wish to trade a dummy board for a doll please do get in touch. I would love to own some of your work.

    Very best wishes,
    Blog http://angeliqueminiatures.wordpress.com/

  4. pastmastery Says:

    Thanks Louise.
    It means a lot.

  5. Sally Watson Says:

    Dearest Sue
    You are not alone in your loss – we have all been hit by the cost of fairs, low sales etc. Believe me – had I the funds I would buy you out!
    I have loved the blog and wish you improved health. I may visit KDF with a media hat on so will be sure to say hello – if i have won the lotto by then stand back!

    Best wishes

  6. pastmastery Says:

    Oh…Sally…. I hope you do win the Lotto… and not just for me.
    Thanks for your very kind words…sniff….sniff…

  7. julie Says:

    Oh Sue !!!!!! I am so sad to hear this ,but also so honoured to own my beautiful belle, she is such a treasured piece and even more so now.
    I hope your book will be a wonderful success and wish you luck whatever you do in the future,

    julie :0)

  8. pastmastery Says:

    Thank you Julie. I think that Belle was one of the nicest commissions I ever had. Thank you for letting me paint her.

    I shall not be disappearing altogether..just the mini dummy boards will. I shall continue to paint mini pictures but less than I did.

    The Whimsicals are taking up quite a bit of time and they do sell, so it’s better that I concentrate on those. They aren’t as ‘me’ as the dummy boards but we have to change course sometime don’t we?

    Thanks for your wonderful support over the past year or so. The tree will be at KDF and is the ADVERT IN THE BROCHURE. I’ll bring it to you on the day and you can have it for a ‘ friend discount’.


  9. Daisy Says:

    I am very sad to know that you will stop
    painting. I’m lucky to have one of your paintings.
    But I know that things improve and you will surely
    find your way and will be very successful.

  10. Eileen Sedgwick Says:

    Dear Sue, I’m sorry to hear you are giving up making your lovely boards. I’ve really enjoyed seeing what you make, although I also appreciate why you are calling it a day. All the best, I hope your health improves, and that you still find joy in creativity. Eileen xxx

    • pastmastery Says:

      Thank you Eileen. It was a hard decision but one that had to be made. Glad you enjoyed seeing my creations. I shall still paint but not dummy boards.
      Best Wishes and

  11. Daisy Says:

    What I can say…..i’m sorry, and good luck and success with the book.

  12. Nina Says:

    I wish you all the best, Sue, whatever you do. I hear and resonate with the frustration and anger in your posts.

    It’s always hard for artists to make a living doing what we’ve trained to do. I’m both a visual artist and a musician, and I’ve spent my life struggling against the general tide of feeling in the world that what I value, the world does not. Perhaps it was ever thus.

    My own choice has always been to make the necessary balance between doing doing what I most love and paying the bills. If I have to do some gigs which aren’t my favourite, I balance those with things I may plan myself, which give me the greatest satisfaction and artistic growth.

    I will always treasure my 17th century fellow, who is currently living in the downstairs closet of the William and Mary House 🙂

    With great respect,


  13. pastmastery Says:

    Thanks Nina…luckily I don’t have to paint to pay the bills but it’s still frustrating as you say not to have ones work recognised.
    Glad to hear Lord Fancy Pants is happy in his new home.

    I shall still paint but not dummy boards…and I will be running a competition on the blog nearer Xmas to win a HAND PAINTED figure…you might like to see if you can win…again!

    You never know…

    Love and thanks for all your support and for your friendship over the miles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: