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Heirs Apparent

February 24, 1991|BARBARA THORNBURG

In uncertain times, we long for worlds we can control. That's part of the appeal of beautifully crafted miniature furniture, finely detailed collectibles for settings of fantasy. And today, miniatures are finding their way out of the nursery and popping up in such tony design-furniture collections as Donghia and John Widdicomb.

Upscale miniature chairs come in an array of classic styles that range from English Chippendale, Sheraton and Queen Anne to French Louis XV and American Victorian wicker. Although they're regally expensive (the winsome seatings pictured here range from $395 to $3,600), these pieces may well be worth the investment: One pedigreed 18th-Century child's recamier recently fetched $95,000 at a Christie's auction. Interior designer Mario Buatta, renowned for his elaborate chintz-draped English interiors, makes a practice of putting a child's chair in every room. But like many of the chairs destined for children, they end up being used by adults--depending, of course, on "how broad you are in back."

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