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  • Writer's pictureGreg Lock

Stissing Mountain Diorama

Please refer to this post first if you have not read it:

Below is a diorama "An October Afternoon Near Stissing Mountain" (as photographed in the Hall of New York, in the Museum of Natural History in New York City) . It shows a lake with a couple of islands and a mountain. In the foreground are a variety of flora and fauna and some animals. The birch tree, the bird, the fox and the low plants are all meticulously crafted models. The mountain and the lake and the islands are all a lit painted background.

Stissing Mountain is 8 miles as the crow flies from my house.

Tapping into local knowledge, I managed to stand on the edge of the lake from where the original view was conceived. Kevin and Vivian knew they had 'the view' on their property but conceded that the painter took considerable liberties with the location of the islands on 'Twin Island Lake'. They also noted how the lake edge, which is now a road, was re-sculpted.

Either way it was wonderous to be looking out on the exact view that inspired the 1951 model found in the Museum. I have identified a place that may have the slightly more elevated view, and IO plan to re-photograph the scene from there.

The questions I ask are to do with false representation in replication and the challenges in communicating form and space. Once time has passed, which is the most real of these? The original day that the painter and designers sketched the diorama? Day one of the diorama opening to the public? The day I went to Kevin and Vivian's yard, or when I held up my phone to realize where I was.

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