How are you? I hope still ok and continuing to cope with whatever your life looks like now for you and your loved ones! I don’t have that much time on my hands but have, as many others, re-discovered my love of doing jig-saw puzzles. I find it takes me away from brooding – and is a process that ends with a satisfying result. One of the puzzles I have completed over the last 2 months is bound to feed into a future artwork – I don’t quite know how yet, and promise I will let you know. Have a look:

a massive (dead?) mouse is not the only strange thing about this..
Hidden within is a whole menagerie!

As you can see, a third of the original layer is gone – making the mouse stand out. The style of shapes is called ‘whimsy’ (pieces cut ‘on a whim) or “Victorian style”. Whether this particular puzzle (acquired on Ebay) is truly Victorian or not, I cannot say, as many contemporary puzzle-makers have re-introduced this technique.
I cherish it because it has a ‘homemade’ feel to it.

details of tiny cat and dog

A brief history and links to sites that delve even deeper and have great examples of jigsaw puzzles is via Collector’s Weekly.

This is the cover of the box of another puzzle. I expected a large cruise-ship….and couldn’t make out the very faded typewritten label on the side of the box until I had completed:
‘Venetian Sunset’
I was also slightly confused by the sticker: ‘Confiserie Francaise’ ? Had this been a give-away to favourite customers?
The answer: ‘Confiserie Francaise’ in Ealing was, in fact, a Toy-shop – it seems they had to keep the name of the previous owner when they bought the lease.
The artist, Richard Dey de Ribkowsky, (1880 – 1936) led an interesting life: born in Bulgaria, widely-travelled, and spending his last years (wheelchair-bound) in a hotel in Los Angeles, selling his artworks directly. I encourage you to read more about him – click here!

I wonder whether the current resurgence of interest in puzzling will continue – if so, I hope that it will be for all the fun reasons rather than because being ‘stuck at home’. I am also very much aware that many still had and have to work very hard – no ‘downtime’ for you, and I applaud each and every one in this position. You are either exposed to the dangers of having to travel to and from and at work itself, or you are working ‘at home’. You may have seen the quote below elsewhere – I think it is important to remember it. Stay safe and keep well!

You are not working from home. You are at your home during a crisis trying to work.


  1. Hi Wibi. Love the animal shapes jigsaw, never seen one like that before. The Chad Valley one brought back memories, as Harborne in England was where I grew up for the first few years of my life. Chad Valley took it’s name from the stream – Chad Brook – which ran through the district and surrounding areas.
    It’s been interesting seeing the popularity of jigsaws rise higher, along with colouring books. Good ways to de-stress and take some soothing leisure. Cool post!
    Stay well and safe :)x

    1. I love it, too, though I usually associate those kind of puzzles pieces with kindergarten class. Still, I wonder why the artist left the mouse bereft of any details? And so large!

    2. Hi TVTA, Thank you for your very kind words and the information on Chad Brook, I didn’t know that! I am safe and well, and hope you are keeping the same x

  2. A lovely & suggestive post !
    The ‘menagerie’ puzzle might prompt metaphysical thoughts about an underlying (mathematical ?) structure of reality, or psychological ones about conscious & unconscious mental states….. for art purposes, I mean …. amongst others of course…


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