The New Yorker: Nutshell Studies Feature


In the 1940s, Frances Glessner Lee created¬†the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, tiny dollhouse scenes based on real homicides, accidents or suicides. By the nineteen-fifties, when she was a millionaire heiress in her sixties, with three children and five grandchildren, she and her assistants had completed twenty. The models, made by hand at a scale of one inch to one foot, include a blood-spattered interior, in which three inhabitants have been shot to death; the parlor of a parsonage, in which a young girl in a white dress and red ballet shoes lies on the floor with a knife lodged in her gut and bite marks on her body; a rooming house, in which a woman has drowned in the bathtub; and a country barn, in which a man hangs from the rafters…

Read more in my feature story for The New Yorker website.


November 5, 2017