Tucson, Ariz—January 26, 2015- A new Historical Figure created by artist George Stuart will debut with the exhibit Diamonds Are Forever: The Incredible Journeys of World-Famous Diamonds & the People Who Owned Them at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures in Tucson, Arizona on January 27, 2015.
The new figure to join the exhibit is Evalyn Walsh McLean, American mining heiress and socialite in the early 20th century and the last private owner of the Hope Diamond. The addition of McLean brings the number of Historical Figures in the exhibit to 19 and completes the stories of 10 world-famous diamonds, tracing their circuitous journeys from the mines of present-day India to the hands of the rich and famous across the United States and Europe.
Mrs. McLean purchased the 45.52 carat Hope Diamond from Cartier in Paris in 1911. Her purchase may have been influenced by intrigue over the alleged curse the stone carried. McLean’s flamboyant ownership of the stone (it is rumored she let her pet poodle wear it at parties), continued until her death in 1947. Harry Winston Inc. acquired the stone when they purchased McLean’s entire jewelry collection, and eventually donated it to the Smithsonian Institution. The stone’s previous history, dating back to the 1600s, is told through other Historical Figures in the exhibit– including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
George Stuart creates quarter-life-size figures capturing the essence of history’s most famous and infamous personalities. To date, he has created more than 400 Historical Figures, which have been exhibited at museums across the country– including the Smithsonian. Like the other Historical Figures in the exhibit, Mr. Stuart created the figure of Evalyn Walsh McLean from mixed media. Once a subject is selected, Stuart carefully studies the personality using paintings, drawings, photos, contemporary texts, anatomy references and even autopsy reports. Figures begin with an articulated skeleton of iron sized to the best anatomical data, followed by clay tape and cotton to form bones and muscles, which are then covered by a felt skin. Heads, hands and feet are sculpted and painted. A scalp of Icelandic sheepskin and hair dyed appropriately are meticulously applied and styled. Garments and undergarments, in accordance with the times, are fully functional. Stuart has presented McLean in 1920s high fashion, wearing the Hope Diamond in its most famous setting– as a pendant surrounded by sixteen white diamonds. Scott Sucher created this replica, to scale, specifically for this figure.
Scott Sucher has dedicated his life to the documentation and replication of famous historical diamonds. His full-scale replicas, made from cubic zirconia, have been exhibited worldwide and earned him high praise from experts within the gem and jewelry industry. His extensive work and research on the Hope Diamond was featured in the 2005 Discovery Channel documentary, Unsolved History: The Hope Diamond.
Diamonds Are Forever: The Incredible Journeys of World-Famous Diamonds & the People Who Owned Them will be on exhibit at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures from January 27, 2015 through April 19, 2015 and is included with museum admission. The exhibit was developed and produced by Museum of Ventura County. This is the only Arizona engagement scheduled to date.
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