What lover of nautical artifacts hasn’t ever wanted to own a ship’s figurehead? Now, that would be an impressive sentinel in one’s foyer. Or why not a whole array of them? There’s just one problem attendant to the collection of such pieces of the past: they’re big! Enter an artist who’s been hailed as “the Master of Miniatures”—Lloyd McCaffery, author of the classic Ships in Miniature: A New Manual for Modelmakers (Phoenix, 1988). Over his 50-year career, he has come to be regarded as “one of the most amazing miniaturists of this or any age,” as one gallery carrying his work puts it. Known principally for his pristine ship models, McCaffery also branched off into a related sideline: classic figureheads from the Age of Sail, replicated in precise detail to the nth degree—but in scales so diminutive the woodcraft becomes all the more astounding. Suddenly, an array of figureheads begins to sound like a collection that won’t get you kicked out of your house.
Pieces of the Past
By Eric Mills