The Colonial Mexican Dining Room by Peter Westcott is a celebration of tradition and collaboration, the labor of many artisans coming together to create one special moment. Several fine miniaturists lent their expertise to the production of each detail, from the terra cotta tiles to the open-beam ceiling. The master silversmith, Pete Acquisto, created the reproduction set of a 1785 pitcher and goblets by Thomas More. Fellow silversmith Randy Whitman produced a gorgeous sterling tea set and, perhaps not surprisingly, the cat in the scene is one by Charles David Claudon, well known in the miniature world for his charismatic felines. The room box itself is by the great Peter Westcott, whose training as an architect led him to a rewarding career in miniature room design and restoration.
There are two outstanding miniature paintings in this roombox: a still life painting by the talented Melissa Wolcott, an American IGMA Fellow specializing in miniature reproduction paintings; and the miniature triptych depicting the holy Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, created by Russian artist Natasha Beshenkovsky, well-known for her decorative painting styles spanning the Renaissance to Art Nouveau. Completing miniature paintings such as these requires countless hours and a steady hand, and occasionally the use of paintbrushes comprised of a single strand. You can find several paintings by both Wolcott and Beshenkovsky in our Museum’s collection.
Tucson miniaturist Joe Franek hand-carved the dining set, as well as the slingseat savanarola, buffet and trastero. Museum founder, Pat Arnell, acquired these pieces of furniture before purchasing Westcott’s room box, and was thrilled to have found a setting that complimented these faithful miniatures.