Link -- Article by M. Christian of "Meine Kleine Fabrik" and Avi Abrams

Get yourself a house of infinite craftsmanship

Doll's House enthusiasts usually trace the origins of their fascination to European “baby houses” of the 1700s, though kids were kept far, far away from these elegant treasures; they were more a status symbol than a real plaything.

Vintage Dollhouse in Amsterdam, Holland. Photo by Natalya Bushina

If you want to use a broader description, though, miniatures (more suited for children to play with) arguably have roots as far back as the ancient Egyptians, if not further... There is something magical in making things smaller; even your office tower may look like a doll house from a certain angle, without you realizing it:

(image credit: Aduna)

True doll houses, featuring elegant miniaturization and suitable for children to play with, really began to come into their own with the industrial age, around the turn of the 20th century. The finest makers of houses (and their mini-furniture), were usually German (before the first World War) and then the British and Americans. Dolls and their houses existed before machines took the place of skilled craftsmen, but only rich kids could afford them -- and then only played with them very, very carefully.

Dollhouse in the Frankfurt shop window, Germany. Photo by Tatiana

Some of the kids who enjoyed them grew up and transformed their childhood fun into a seriously wonderful hobby, if not magnificent art.

Colleen Moore's Fairy Dollhouse

One of the more celebrated doll houses lives in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Created by legendary silent picture actress Colleen Moore with the set designer Harold Grieve, the fairy castle is a magnificent work of art as well deliriously scaled precision.

Towering more than eight feet tall, the house features murals painted by someone you may have heard of (Walt Disney), chandeliers with real diamonds, the tiniest Bible ever written, tapestries featuring the smallest recorded stitches, a library of more than 100 hand-printed books, a pure silver bathtub (with running water), and still more amazing treasures and exquisite details.

You could say that bathrooms like this will never go out of style:

(images credit: Museum of Science and Industry)

Being a screen queen gave Colleen Moore an opportunity to create a magnificent fantasy castle, but if you want true opulence in small scale you have to … well, let’s just say it’s good to be the queen.

Queen's Miniature Windsor Castle

Created in 1924, Queen Mary’s Dolls' House has a pedigree worthy of any stately home in England; the queen’s cousin, Princess Marie Louise, commissioned the famous architect Sir Edwin Lutyens to construct it. (more info)

(images credit: Victorian Station)

But the Queen’s dollhouse was more than a plaything. It was, and still is, a frozen moment in British history, a miniature collection of the pride of the empire with works and features showcasing the best the country had to offer. Like Colleen Moore’s castle, the library had an extensive collection of handwritten books, but because she was the queen, after all, the royal doll house’s library had unique works by Kipling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

(images credit: Victorian Station)

Moore’s house had running water, but the queen’s house not only had that but a flushable loo, too. And that’s not all: the floors were done in fine woods and marble, the kitchen sported a working coffee mill, and even the wine cellar featured bottles containing real wines (and not just the cheap stuff, either) -

(image via)

Accurate in every aspect: right down to tiny little wine bottles with real wine, tiny magazines and books, real carpets, plush furnishings, fireplaces, with real framed art hanging above them. Perhaps the most impressive of all is the five inch-long vintage motorcycle, which reportedly has a real, working motor.

True labour of love: The Miniature Hobbit™ House

There are simply far too many curiosities and small-scale wonders to talk about in one article – from immaculate working steam trains and gasoline-powered racing cars. But this incredible doll house might take a special place in your heart - once you see how lovingly it's made and how warm and cozy the detailing is. Livejournal user ObeliaMedusa built a perfect replica of Frodo™s Hobbit House, using a usual dollhouse scale, 1 inch: 1 foot - with all two rows of rooms together measuring about 25" by 36".

Here are a few more hobbit-eye views:

Look into the pantry...

... and here's cozy Bilbo's room, complete with books and a nice desk:

See more incredible detailing and interior shots here and in-progress page here. By now you must be really amazed at the sophistication of this project... but here's how it all started:

That tells you that even the most intimidating of projects are possible, if you start with a small wonder and add to it... one little step at a time.

(images credit: ObeliaMedusa)

Miniature food for dollhouses (that Borrowers would die for) -

(image credit: Stéphanie Kilgast)
(special thanks to Ian Nigel Staveacre)

Also Read:
Russian Imperial Faberge Eggs
Creation and Destruction of Sand Mandalas

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Category: art,Vintage


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, also, the Swiss were extremely fine makers of Doll houses.

Blogger kalos_eidos said...

The detail that goes into those doll houses is amazing to me! I can't imagine the patience it takes to make them.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I own a 1" scale Streamline Art Deco house. see here http://www.oceanboulevard.co.uk/2.html
Until I started furnishing it, I had no idea how much it would cost me to furnish it accurately. For instance, if you look in the dining room, there's a circular display cabinet, which cost me £80!

Blogger JM said...

I went to school in chicago and fell in love with this collection of miniature rooms at the art institute of chicago:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kalos, you're absolutely correct. It also takes months if not years to finish a dollhouse or roombox with this kind of attention to detail. We've built a few dollhouses, and although not museum quality, they do take patience and craft.



Blogger dollshouserestoration said...

I restore vintage dolls houses and love to see older houses.


Blogger Mags Cassidy said...

As a miniature food maker, I found this a very interesting read, thank you.margaretcassidy

Anonymous fluffybricks said...

It's not true that 'true' dollhouses are for children to play with.
check out the miniatures on my blog, they're all for adults only! And still true dollhouses.

Anonymous Rumah Dijual said...

thanks, waiting for next post


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