Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Life is a Jigsaw

As I mentioned in my previous post about bluebells, the photo of my Mother was made into a hand-coloured wooden jigsaw. I've never parted with it, and its companion piece, which depicts my Mum on a Sunday School picnic with her friends. They are a little chipped but otherwise have stood the test of time very well (the jigsaws, not Mum and her friends), having been played with by me, my brother, and our children. I'm hoping that my three-year old  twin grandchildren will inherit them - once I can be assured that they will treasure them the way I have.

                        It's amazing to think that this jigsaw is over 80 years old. 

I do love jigsaws and we always had one 'on the go' at Christmas and during school holidays. I also remember whenever I was ill in bed as a child - too poorly to go to school but probably convalescing from some childhood scourge like measles - I would be allowed to have a tray and do my jigsaws in bed. I remember one depicting Nelson's flagship, Victory, which was full of detail, though sadly, I no longer have that.

Wooden jigsaws are very expensive these days, so when I saw this recently in a UK Charity shop I nabbed it!

A "Victory" Wood Jig-saw puzzle of the Circus. Apparently it was intended for children of 4-8 years, and was made in England too!  The puzzle was complete and in perfect condition.
It included 12 cut-out models and according to the Jigthings website these are known as Whimsys. This is not blatant commercialism, I just happened to have a had a very interesting e-mail correspondence a couple of years ago with Colin, the founder of the company, about storage for my own growing store of jigsaws and how to manage it. I actually never did purchase anything (sorry Colin) but I enjoyed the exchange we had.
 I still haven't solved the storage problem, but there are some puzzles I'll never part with. I'm not so keen on bucolic scenes, or those with a lot of sky or sea. The more detail the better, and of course, you have to like the subject. Favourites are those depicting paintings, like Holbein's 'The Ambassadors', so that you can learn about art at the same time as working out the puzzle.

Doing a jigsaw puzzle is a great brain-training, for both children and adults. It engages both sides of the brain and studies have proved that they help prevent memory loss in older people so....... I'm off to do jigsaw!


  1. I've never seen jig saws made from photos. This is wonderful.
    The wooden one is a great find. I read somewhere that you could rent them from the New York City library at one time. We keep one going on the dining room table pretty well all the time. Long live the jig saw!

  2. I've seen photos made into jig-saws, but much more recent than this one, so I am intrigued. Judging by the shapes of the cuts, this must have been a commercially available service, even if your great-aunt Muad developed, printed and coloured the photograph herself. Or do you think the whole thing was available as an early type of kit-set? An interesting photo format which I've yet to cover on Photo-Sleuth, thanks for sharing it.

  3. That jig saw of your mother is a treasure to have. The prospect of having to saw a jig-saw with a fretsaw makes me starting to sweat already.

  4. Wonderful! After seeing the other picture and now this, it makes me wonder about the art of hand-tinting photos.

    Kathy M.

  5. I've knew of photos into jigsaws but hadn't imagined they could do them 80 years ago. What a wonderful thing to have -I hope you've got a note on the back to explain who/what it is ;-) I did enjoy jigsaws, but not the mess on the table. My grandson loves his.

  6. Oh my, your Great Aunt Maud - pure mode! Those jigsaw cuts - amazing. I hope your Mum still loves those flowers. What color! What is the size of the photo. Do scan and enhance the photo too as a keepsake. This fact still amazes me:

    'Maud was a keen amateur photographer, and developed most of her own pictures.'

  7. I think Brett is right about the commercial service. As a woodworker I can say that the puzzle pieces are very skillfully cut with a machine and not by a hand jigsaw. Perhaps this was a special product from one of the big department stores like Harrods.

  8. Brett and Mike, I've absolutely no idea how she did it, but she did do it! I recall these jigsaws from when I was a chid more than 50 years ago. Harrods doesn't sound right. My aunt lived her life around Nottingham, in the Midlands. She must have had acess to some commercial service of the time, perhaps by post.


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