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Toys & Play

Toy Box Village Scene from Toccata for Toy Trains

c. 1957

This collection of miniature wooden buildings was used for one of the sets in Toccata for Toy Trains, a film made by the Eames Office in 1957. The term “toccata” refers to a musical composition intended to show off a player’s virtuosity. In the case of the Eames film, toy trains became the performers against a score by Elmer Bernstein. Trains dash through intricate sets populated by a cast of dolls and other toys. This collection of more than two dozen unique buildings was used for a scene in which a train passes through a quaint village. The buildings’ steeply pitched roofs and wood-decorated façades suggest a rustic European setting, and although the carved wood is intricately painted with shuttered windows, brick chimneys, and other details, in many places its underlying wood grain shows through, reflecting a line from the film’s opening narration: “In a good old toy there’s apt to be nothing self-conscious about the use of materials. What is wood is wood. What is tin is tin. What is cast is beautifully cast. It is possible that somewhere in all this is a clue to what sets the creative climate of any time, including our own.”

  • Medium:Wood, paint, adhesive
  • Dimensions:T.2019.2.96.9: 16 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 4 in. (41.9 x 14 x 10.2 cm)T.2019.2.96.14: 7 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 3 in. (18.4 x 13.3 x 7.6 cm)T.2019.2.96.18: 6 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 4 in. (16.5 x 10.8 x 10.2 cm)
  • Item:T.2019.2.96.9, T.2019.2.96.14, T.2019.2.96.18