The Venus Throw

I promised you a competition earlier in the year!

I think the time has come for us to have a go!

It’s going to be quite simple, but quite difficult!

The prize will be:


One of my HAND PAINTED, UNIQUE, NEVER TO BE REPEATED historic miniature dummy board figures, worth over £200!

I have decided that as most people, it seems, favour the Georgian era, for their dollshouse, I will give as a prize one of my Georgian Gainsborough dummy boards.

I have said it many times on this blog but….. it was the custom in the late 18th and the 19th century for artists to reproduce famous paintings as dummy boards. Sometimes they were copied perfectly. Sometimes they had the face of another person substituted for that which the original artist painted.

Here is perhaps the most famous example.

Rembrandt's Maria Tripp as a full sized dummy board. 5 ft. 19th c.

And the original on which it was based.

The original half portrait of Maria Tripp.

This was quite the thing to do with Thomas Gainsborough’s work and there are a few dummy boards of his lovely portraits about.

I have painted four of his portraits as mini figures and am going to offer one of them as the prize in my, last, competition. Two that are real figures and two that aren’t.

Two sisters, not a real board but one I thought would make a lovely set of figures. And I was right.

Gentleman with greyhound... (and a friend) -a real 19th c. dummy board

Lady Sheffield..a famous real 19th c. figure. ( And her friend, Hogarth's pug)

The Grand Hall with Lady with Ostritch Feather in the foreground. ( The other three can be seen in the background.)

The last figure, not a real dummy board, leans on a pillar and I will be offering this too in the prize. You choose.

THE QUESTION YOU MUST ANSWER to win one of these figures.

What is the name of the only absolutely proven, known ENGLISH  historic dummy board?

Answers to me by December 12th please. E mail me at

If I have more than one correct answer I will put names in a hat and get Stephen to draw one out. I’ll notify you by e mail and you will feature on the blog, of course.

So get your thinking caps on.

To reiterate…

The prize consists of one HAND PAINTED miniature dummy board bearing the PastMastery seal, in a box with an explanatory leaflet. Choose from:

1. Lady Sheffield

2. Gentleman with greyhound

3. Lady with Ostrich feather fan and pillar.

4. Two sisters with dog

And the Venus Throw?

The Romans played a  dice game with four knucklebones. The Venus throw happened when each dice landed on a different side. It was the highest  throw you could have and so, considered the luckiest. It was also considered the most scary, for whole livelihoods, fortunes and estates could be gambled away on it! People too I believe.

I don’t expect you to gamble away your servant or wife though…never fear! 🙂


9 Responses to “The Venus Throw”

  1. Debbie Says:

    Sue, I’ve entered your competition and have sent you an email with my answer. xxx

  2. Mary Williams Says:

    They are all fabulous Sue, you have such a talent.

  3. pastmastery Says:

    Thanks Debbie…. you are duly entered!

  4. Linda Larsen Says:

    wow how interesting is this!!! fabulous!! and i love the dummy boards…i emailed you too 😀 Linda x

  5. Susan Wener Says:

    I, too, at Debbie’s encouragement, have entered. An e-mail has been dispatched! What fun! Such uniquely lovely work.


  6. Julie Lawton Says:

    Hi Sue , I have sent you an email with my entry. I would have done this earlier only pc was having a moment or two and wouldn’t let me do anything! Modern tech thingies can be an utter pain. Its a shame to lose a wonderful artist like your self , but like you lots of my Miniature making friends have given up, some like me just the shows and others completely. Its very sad, but what do they say 95% of the public are dim.I’m sure like myself we have met most of them when exhibiting!!! Best wishes Julie

  7. All I want for Christmas….. « Pastmastery's Blog Says:

    […] figures are the ones offered as a prize in the PastMastery competition and so are not for […]

  8. Off you go! « Pastmastery's Blog Says:

    […] I now have only 12 correct answers. You have a one in twelve chance ( so far ) of winning a Gainsborough dummy board of your choice. QUICK!  enter the competition. […]

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