Miniature of the Month

Wall Tapestry by Nicola Mascall

The wall tapestry by Nicola Mascall is the focal point of the Master Chamber of Savage Manor.

Thirty years ago this year, on a whim, fledgling miniature artisan Nicola Mascall sent a note and a 1/12th scale Victorian sampler to Caroline Hamilton, author of Decorative Dolls' Houses. It was more or less a “thank you” as Caroline’s book had been Nicola’s inspiration to begin creating needlework in miniature. What the thoughtful beginning artisan received in return left her flabbergasted--an invitation to exhibit her work from the author who, much to Nicola’s surprise, was also the organizer of the most prestigious miniatures show in the UK, the London Dollshouse Festival.

While schooled in the arts and influenced by her creative parents, an artist and a needlewoman/milliner, Nicola had just begun dabbling in the world of miniatures. The British artisan already had an established career as an illustrator and designer but after the birth of her second child, she wanted a bit more personal and artistic freedom. Caroline’s book introduced her to exactly what she had been looking for—an opportunity to combine needlework and art through a craft she could design and produce at her own pace to afford more time with family. She’s never looked back.

As Nicola explains, every year she expanded her repertoire of items which now includes cushions, foot stools, fire screens, bell pulls, seat coverings, sewing boxes, tapestry stands, rugs, carpets and wall hangings. Her larger tapestries have found homes in major collections, including the one pictured which provides the focal point of the beautiful Tudor bedroom in the KSB Miniatures Collection’s Savage Manor.

The 15" x 8.5" tapestry had to be sewn in three parts to accommodate the door opening.

The work, reminiscent of the 17th century Brussels Verdure tapestries which depict lush landscapes, flora and fauna, villages and other bucolic scenes, was based on an antique design submitted to Nicola by the makers of Savage Manor, Susie Rogers and Kevin Mulvany. A year later in 2018, the 15" x 8.5" tapestry was installed in the master chamber of the 1/12th-scale structure representing the ancestral home of Thomas Savage, Archbishop of York.

The exceptional piece was an unusual challenge for Nicola as the wall hanging needed to cover an entire wall and also allow for a door opening. To accomplish this, she created the tapestry in three parts joining the gauze above and beside the door opening after the design had been completed. Since the central area of the wall hanging would be hidden behind a four-poster bed, Nicole kept the aesthetic of that area simple. The tapestry was crafted using silk thread on 40 count silk gauze with Nicola especially loving the ornate border, which she says was “a joy to design and stitch.”

Savage Manor is a 1/12th-scale structure representing the 16th century ancestral home of Kaye Savage Browning.

As Nicola mentioned, every year she pushed herself to try new things and in 2019 her efforts won first place (and People’s Choice Award) in the Kensington Dollshouse Festival’s Perfection in Miniature Awards for her 1/24th-scale version of a wall hanging displayed in the Gallery of Tapestries at the Vatican Museums. The following year she was awarded PIMA’s second place for an American sampler. Her most recent project was a large Savonnerie carpet after a Louis XIV design displayed in the Louvre in Paris. Nicola’s newest project, however, is one relating back to her initial desire to change careers to spend more time with loved ones. “I have four grandchildren to spoil,” she says. “I have bought doll's houses for two of the children in hope that they will one day become enthusiasts themselves or at least conjure up happy memories of their miniature-mad Nana!”

If Nicola’s past is any prediction of her future, expect to see budding miniaturists with the same engaging smile and zest for life in the years to come.

You can view more of Nicola’s work at


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KSB Miniatures Collection at The Kentucky Gateway Museum Center
215 Sutton Street, Maysville, Kentucky 41056 | 606-564-5865 |

Kentucky Gateway Museum Center