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Beyond the dollhouse: the toy butcher shop

Toy butcher shops for the aspiring young butcher

August 12, 2012|By S. Irene Virbila | Restaurant Critic
  • Toy butcher shops were popular in 19th century England. This one dates from 1840.
Toy butcher shops were popular in 19th century England. This one dates from… (Collector's Weekly )

This should be right up Lindy and Grundy’s alley: toy butcher shops for aspiring young butchers from Victorian England. Look at that detail! The butcher’s neatly tied apron, the blue scarf tucked around his neck, his knife laid at the corner of the butcher block table, the precision of the cuts. Even the bloody sawdust on the floor. This particular one dates from 1840.

I came across the link to these toy butcher shops at the weirdly gruesome and eclectic Morbid Anatomy blog, "surveying the interstices of art and medicine, death and culture.” Always something to learn there, and, of course, I’ve got the Morbid Anatomy library and museum  on my itinerary next time I’m anywhere near Brooklyn.

The image comes from an article in Collector’s Weekly  by Lisa Hix entitled “Baby’s First Butcher Shop, Circa 1900." Quoting from the article, “in Victorian times, such detailed model butcher shops were not uncommon, says Sarah Louise Wood, a curator at the Museum of Childhood at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.” Another theory, though, asserts they were probably used for display in butcher shops. Something like the plastic food displays so popular with Japanese restaurants.

I do know this: Better hit the flea markets and antique shops quick if you want to find one of these fascinating miniature butcher shops. An easy way to learn all the various cuts.


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-- S. Irene Virbila

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