D. E. Stevenson

A World in Miniature

Miniaturists create in miniature the worlds they can't inhabit in reality.
Here are my mini scenes from DES's world.
The Four Graces Schoolroom
Janetta's Study
(The Two Mrs. Abbotts, 1943)
Bel's Rooftop Garden
(Bel Lamington 1961)
The Road to Ardfalloch
(Smouldering Fire, 1935)

new editions


The old schoolroom at the Chevis Green Vicarage, where Liz, Sal, Tilly, Addie and Mr. Grace get together at the end of each day for tea and talk and crossword puzzles. (1/4 inch scale)


Janetta Walters' Study
1/4 inch scale
picture taken by Jessica Sawyer, June 2007

Janetta has Writer's Block

It was not until Janetta had finished her second tea and had gone into the study to put in a few hours' work upon Love Triumphant that she remembered Mr. Ash. She hesitated by the big solid desk, which was placed at exactly the right angle near the window, and an uncomfortable feeling assailed her. It was like a breath of cold air, blowing across her soul. "Soppy Stuff." That was what he had said. But why should she care? He was an insufferable young man. She did not write for his entertainment. He was incapable of appreciating her books—that was all.

Janetta sat down, took up her pen and turned over the pile of manuscript which lay before her on the table, as she did so a passage caught her eye—it was a passage she had written this morning....

Suddenly, in the middle of a sentence, Janetta's pen faltered. She sniffed the air in a tentative manner and her eyes fell on a vase of sweet peas on the table beside her desk.... Janetta looked at the flowers, and as she looked, she seemed to see the young man's oafish face—and to hear his curiously husky voice: "I bet you could write something decent if you tried." What a thing to say! How dared he say such a thing! "Something decent"—what an expression to use! Janetta was so upset that she laid down her pen and went out through the french window.

D. E. Stevenson
The Two Mrs Abbotts, 1943


Bel's Rooftop Garden
1 inch scale

Outside the window of the sitting-room there was a flat roof with a stone coping all round it. When Bel first came to London she had put a few pot-plants on this roof but this had not satisfied her craving for a garden, so she bought some window boxes and a couple of stone troughs and filled them with seedlings. Gradually, in spite of the soot and the smoke and the depredations of pigeons, the flat roof had become a tiny garden, a piece of the country wedged in amongst the bricks and mortar of the city. Some plants refused to grow, they pined for their proper milieu as Bel herself had pined, but others consented to bloom quite cheerfully. They had to be coaxed, of course, watered and drained and re-potted, their leaves sponged and their roots cosseted with bone-meal, but Bel had no other hobby and when she returned from working all day in a stuffy office it was delightful to climb out of her sitting-room window and enjoy the pleasance which she had created. The little garden was wonderfully private, it was not overlooked by the windows of the surrounding houses; she could take a deck-chair and sit there enjoying the colour and fragrance of her flowers. She could see the sky, blue and hazy above the chimneys; often she sat and watched the sky darken and the stars appear.

D. E. Stevenson,
Bel Lamington, 1961


Smouldering Fire
1 inch scale

There is no metalled road that leads to Ardfalloch—the best road to take is an easy chair before the fire on a wet afternoon

D. E. Stevenson
Author's Foreword to Smouldering Fire, 1935