High Tea Diorama

Robert Heitmann (American, b. 1922) "High Tea" n.d. mixed media 16 x 20 x 4.25'' Photo: David H. Ramsey. 2013.87

Robert Heitmann (American, b. 1922) High Tea n.d. mixed media 16 x 20 x 4.25” Photo: David H. Ramsey. 2013.87

This diorama of two bears drinking tea together was created as a window dressing for the jewelry company Tiffany & Co., by the window dresser and illustrator Robert Heitmann. Heitmann created whimsical, seasonal window decorations for Tiffany & Co. from the mid 1970s to the mid 1990s, which were often based on classic children’s literature. Heitmann also wrote and illustrated two children’s books, The Man in the Flannel Suit and Best Witches, and worked for two different Manhattan advertising agencies before becoming a freelance window designer. Heitmann’s designs were used in stores in New York City, Rochester, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and Atlantic City.

After their use as window dressings, many of Heitmann’s dioramas were sold by the Gordon Fraser Gallery in Newtown, CT, and many have been exhibited by the Scarsdale Historical Society in Scarsdale, NY. The Kamm Teapot Foundation acquired this diorama for its use of tea imagery in advertising, which is a thematic area in the collection.

–Nora H. Weston

Further Reading

Vivien Raynor.  “ART:  Windows on a World of Storybook Charm and Precision.” New York Times, October 10, 1993.

Vivien Raynor. “ART: ‘Once Upon a Time’ Is a Twice-Told Tale” New York Times, December 2, 1989.

Eleanor Charles. “Westchester Guide.” New York Times, August 31, 1986.

Best Witches by Robert Heitmann. Golden Press. New York, 1960.

The Man in the Red Flannel Suit by Robert Heitmann. Golden Press. New York, 1959.

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