Icons in the Village

A lot of what is produced for the Department 56 Villages is the result of research, gleaning ideas from the internet and the fertile imaginations of our Village artists. Villages like the North Pole (nobody’s actually been there), Mickey’s Merry Christmas Village, and the Grinch Village all are easy because they have no guidelines to follow. But recreating a Village that represents Main Street America in the 1950’s and 1960’s (The Original Snow Village) requires much more.

The artists at Department 56 have been designing little lighted houses in porcelain and ceramic for over 40 years and are constantly inspired by stunning examples of real architecture both here in the United States and abroad. They look at current architecture and photos of buildings that no longer exist. The new “Art in Architecture” series features a number of iconic architectural landmarks and the series was also inspired by several memorable paintings by well-known American painters.

Chrysler Building

Village Artist Tom Bates

One of the first well-known structures tackled by in-house Village artist, Tom Bates, was the Chrysler Building in New York City. Designed by architect William Van Alen in a classic art-deco style, the building featured a number of automotive inspired designs as an homage to the motor city giant for whom it was named. At a cost of $20 million, the building was opened to the public in 1930. “This was always a piece I thought would be perfect for our Christmas in the City series,” remarked Bates. “It is recognizable, has interesting characteristics and would be tall enough to stand out in any Village display.” He was delighted when opportunity came and the Village piece, made of porcelain and lighted on both the exterior and interior, became a reality.




Inspired by a 1942 painting by American artist, Edward Hopper, “Nighthawks” proved to be an interesting challenge to Department 56 artists who had to create the exterior of a building when Hopper concentrated his efforts on the interior view of the diner. Meant as an insight into urban American culture of the time, Hopper choose to look at what was going on inside rather than the architecture of the diner itself. Extensive research was done to insure that the building reflected what Hopper focused on.

American Gothic

Another classic American painting aptly titled “American Gothic” by artist, Grant Wood, is an image instantly recognized by almost everyone. Wood was an unknown painter living with his mother and sister in an apartment over a funeral home at the time, but this snapshot of Midwestern American life thrust him into the national spotlight. Wood, originally from Iowa won a bronze medal and cash prize of $300.00 for the painting at an annual exhibition at the Chicago Institute of Art in 1930. Tom Bates was also the artist who designed this piece, told us that “because the painting is so well known, it was important to be absolutely true to the original.” And because the stoic couple in the forefront of the painting were an integral part of the story, another Department 56 artist, Tate Yotter, who specializes in figure drawing, drew the figurine that is part of the set. “The couple, surprisingly, is not a couple. The farmer was a local dentist and the woman was his sister.”

When iconic American architecture of the 20th Century is discussed, the name Frank Lloyd Wright always come to mind. In a deliberate attempt to create a style that was organic and uniquely American, Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Prairie Style” is easy to distinguish. Department 56 is proud to partner with the Frank Lyoyd Wright Foundation to introduce several homes that truly reflect the vision and style of this iconic architect.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria is one of the most photographed buildings in the world. It was commissioned by King Ludwig II in the 19th century and inspired Disney when designing the castle for Sleeping Beauty at Disneyworld. Ludwig, obsessed with Richard Wagner’s operas, had many rooms designed to match the stories in some of Wagner’s works. “Because so many have visited Neuschwanstein, it was natural to add this iconic piece to our Alpine Village,” shared Village artist Tom Bates. “It was challenging to bring the look and feeling of the original to a size and scale that would work with our other Village pieces. Many drawings were done, and we tweaked the base to give the feeling of the mountaintop where the original castle is located.” It has become the centerpiece to this beloved Village.

What makes these, and other pieces so popular, is that they appeal to our dedicated Village collectors, to those who love architecture and to those who enjoy having a piece of Americana, and perhaps iconic buildings from places they live or places they have visited.

Share This Post!  Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmail


  • Vanessa cook

    April 8, 2018 at 1:57 pm Reply

    Hello. My in laws had a huge village over 1000 houses. Took all down. Now we need to get rid of it. Any thoughts on this please

  • write custom college essay

    June 27, 2018 at 2:23 am Reply

    How beautiful they are! I love your marvelous icons! Many thanks for making this blog! Reading about Village display tips, sneak peeks, behind the scenes, and artist interviews is a real enjoyment!

  • CharlesRib

    November 18, 2018 at 4:46 pm Reply

    DJI quadcopters are the best! Find out more about them at mediocrebrutality.tumblr.com/

  • Williamutems

    November 27, 2018 at 9:39 am Reply

    Искони пор рыбная ловля была единственным из важных увлечений представителей сильного пола. В случае, если поначалу рыбная ловля прокармливало своей семьи и подсобляло им оставаться в живых, то сейчас оно переросло в увлечение теперешних представителей сильного пола и кроме того дам. Рыбная ловля в нашей стране весьма популярная. Выискать благоразумное объяснение подобному не так-то попросту. Единственной из главных поводов по праву считается традиция. Издавна добывание еды являлась основной функцией представителей сильного пола.
    прикормка для рыбы

  • Moviwef

    December 3, 2018 at 12:07 pm Reply

    Showbox is a popular app for Android. It also works for Windows. http://learninglegaleeze.tumblr.com/

  • Georgerhync

    December 24, 2018 at 10:51 pm Reply

    Sir Elton John is my favourite UK singer of all time. http://amy1om.tumblr.com/

  • WilliamCes

    December 25, 2018 at 6:11 pm Reply

    Hello, admin.

    Interesting website, really!
    But “Search” function on it doesnt work. Sad.

    P.S. Where I can get XEvil4.0 for free?
    It’s best captcha solver, included Google ReCaptcha.
    Need it for white SEO. Thanks.

  • WillieClamn

    January 9, 2019 at 9:18 am Reply

    «Боготворит женщину, полюбит и ребенка». Все мы очень часто слушаем такую присказку, в то время, когда начинается разговор об детях, которых молодой человек обретает вместе с обожаемой девушкой. Так как молодой человек влюбляется ни в коем случае не в ребятню, а женщину и сознаёт что если уж он желает быть совместно с ней, следовательно он еще полностью готов взять на себя таковые прямые обязанности.
    мужчина женщина и дети

  • Shaylawable

    February 6, 2019 at 11:18 am Reply

    Incredible update of captcha breaking package “XRumer 16.0 + XEvil 4.0”:
    captcha recognition of Google (ReCaptcha-2 and ReCaptcha-3), Facebook, BitFinex, Bing, Hotmail, SolveMedia, Yandex,
    and more than 8400 another categories of captchas,
    with highest precision (80..100%) and highest speed (100 img per second).
    You can use XEvil 4.0 with any most popular SEO/SMM programms: iMacros, XRumer, GSA SER, ZennoPoster, Srapebox, Senuke, and more than 100 of other software.

    Interested? You can find a lot of impessive videos about XEvil in YouTube.


    Good luck!

  • Jeffreyjer

    February 13, 2019 at 10:46 am Reply

    fda drug approval process http://gificlimited.com/shop/dermipred-en-pharmacie.html toprol xl drug interactions

  • Jasonres

    March 4, 2019 at 11:08 pm Reply

    Solicitous afternoon
    I lure to your distinction noteworthy sites
    Video entertaining
    п»їanal tube

  • SharonNat

    March 10, 2019 at 10:39 am Reply

    Incredible update of captchas solving software “XRumer 16.0 + XEvil”:
    captcha breaking of Google (ReCaptcha-2 and ReCaptcha-3), Facebook, BitFinex, Bing, Hotmail, SolveMedia, Yandex,
    and more than 8400 another types of captchas,
    with highest precision (80..100%) and highest speed (100 img per second).
    You can use XEvil 4.0 with any most popular SEO/SMM software: iMacros, XRumer, GSA SER, ZennoPoster, Srapebox, Senuke, and more than 100 of other programms.

    Interested? There are a lot of impessive videos about XEvil in YouTube.


    Good luck 😉

  • Anthonycoary

    April 19, 2019 at 1:15 pm Reply

    new tablet from microsoft http://tramadol.uniterre.com/ how to get a doctorate

  • BathroomsBop

    April 20, 2019 at 11:01 pm Reply

    Good Night!

    Mid century bathroom remodel West Village – Bathroom remodel ny

  • MeganKesiz

    April 22, 2019 at 8:37 am Reply

    Большинство девушек комплексуют из-за веснушчатой кожи или областей гиперпигментации. Тем не менее прожить всю жизнь, обмазавшись толстым слоем тоналки, невозможно. Так что девушки взращивают в себе комплексы, боятся выходить к людям, скрывают кожу от солнечных лучей и в конце концов совсем падают духом. А ведь выход лежит на поверхности, отыскать хороший осветляющий препарат либо его заменитель, и купить его у себя в городе.
    Welltox подарит лицу идеальный цвет

Post a Comment