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The Mouse Diorama, thankfully a short-lived art form.

Because the Boston Peace Treaty event got moved (it will now happen on Saturday, September 28; more on this later), we were free this past weekend. We went east on Route 6, where in years past I have purchased a Christmas tree at a clam shack, southeastern New England’s answer to the gas station tree lots I’ve visited in suburban Philadelphia. It’s not the prettiest drive, but it has some coastal views eventually, sporadically, you can end up at strange antiques emporia in converted mills.

It’s not pretty out there: people do bad things with objects. The exact heyday of the Mouse Diorama is unknown, but I believe this form flourished in the late 1970s and early 1980s; by the late 1980s, artists were, uh, “commenting ironically” on the form (if I had a slide scanner, I’d show you). This example makes striking use of red, and the “Love By Cat” title of the book read by the mouse in bed intrigues me. “Love by Cat?” And the cat portrait on the chair: does the mouse upstairs have some sado-masochistic cat-related death-wish fantasies hidden from Mrs Mousie downstairs in her sanguine faux-colonial gown? I don’t know, but this is one of the more disturbing rodent dioramas I’ve seen.

Poor painted chair.

In happier and less bizarre news, we found a decent chair. Bad things have been done to this chair, well, one bad thing called paint (oddly, also red; perhaps Mrs Mousie gets around). The bones of the chair are fine: basic country Windsor chair, but painted. We’ve seen a lot of painted “primitive” stuff out there in the antique shops lately. It’s pretty sad what people will to a perfectly usable wooden bowl, or saddest of all, an 18th century sea chest with hand-forged hinges. Paint! But, this chair was well-priced and half-off that price, so we bought it, and on the way home, bought stripper. It’s already wrecked so we might as well strip it and use it.