Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Happy New Year!! Antique Miniatures - Recent finds

I travelled down to Maryland to celebrate the New Year with friends and, as often happens when I travel, I found some wonderful treasures for my dollhouses.

To my delight I found these lovely antique items in a couple of antique shops. The table is a Schneegass Red Lacquer Table circa 1910, with an art deco design.

Please refer to this photo for scale on the smaller items.  The chairs and table are 1:12 size. The quilt rack isn't antique, but it is wonderful all the same.

I was particularly excited to find 2 chairs and a stool from Tynietoy.

Both Sheridan Chairs have hand painted seats to represent upholstery. I like these designs very much. The stool is a good find as they aren't plentiful. I love the designs on it.

The quilt and rack are not that old, but how could I resist such an adorable item for $2.00?

It appears to have been made by an Amish family in Ohio

The tray was made in Japan and doesn't match the other pieces, but I am sure I have a tea set that will go with it. I am always excited to find the stripped glassware. I think the glasses may be reproductions. If not they are also circa 1910.

These tiny items will look wonderful in any antique dollhouse. The toby mug seems to be quite old.

A tin pitcher, a stein and a tiny dragon vase. I have a child sized teapot and cup and saucer with this dragon design from when I was a child. I had no idea that they made the same design in something so tiny.

More tiny ornaments. My motto is "the smaller the better."

This locket isn't as old as the other items, but it will make a lovely photo album for a dollhouse.

There is only one picture in the album.

On a previous trip to the same area I came across this wonderful 1902 Coronation locket. It is so tiny that I put it next to the chair so you can see the scale.

The cover has a little wear, but it is such a wonderful miniature that I can overlook its flaws.

Pictures inside the locket.

The King and Queen, 1902. King Edward VII is the reason we have an Edwardian Period - as in Downton Abbey

The back cover of the locket has Edward VII's insignia - ER

Happy New Year!! All the best to you in 2015

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Gottschalk Dollhouse with Pull-Out Garden - Antique dollhouse

Today, I would like to share my German Red Roof Gottschalk Dollhouse with Rare Pull-Out Garden from circa 1921

It is a lovely little dollhouse with a big bay window in the front and a side veranda.
Inside there are four rooms if you can count the entry hall and upstairs hall as rooms

The garden slides out from beneath the house like a drawer. Steps to the garden are in the drawer as well

I wonder if the green areas were for specific pieces of furniture.  There are other styles of Gottschalk  houses with pull out gardens. Some have different shapes painted on them

Here is the furnished garden complete with trellis, fountain and sundial.

The house looks very good with the garden extended. 

Here is the upper hall. I have used Gottschalk furniture form the same period as the house in most of the rooms

Since I don't have an appropriate bed for this house I made this room on the second floor into a study

Most Gottschalk houses of this period have a water closet under the stairs. This one retains it's original toilet. The door into the house from the veranda is on the maids right.

I was excited to find this wonderful green pressed paper furniture suite for the parlour of this house. It is the same type of furniture that is in the garden and meant to represent wicker. The garden furniture is quite common, but I have never seen these pieces before except for the table. The sofa and chairs are of a different design and the large piece in the back of the room and the sewing stand are unique in my experience.

Two more pieces of the suite are in the bay window. I have seen the plant stand in a different colour, but not the little bench. Can you see the little white feet of the peeping tom in the window? She is not actually a tom, but she is curious. Lily was trying to figure out what I was doing during the photo shoot.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!!

Christmas is happening all over Mindolton. May you have a merry one at your house too.

Health and Happiness to you and yours in 2015!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mother of diabetic daughter found some solace from worry in creation of dollhouse - Dollhouses in the News

Read the full article here.

Mary Anne Styczynski never imagined that what began as a simple hobby to cope with her daughter's diabetes would become a seven-floor, 16-room, 6 1/2-foot-tall, 3-foot-wide model of a Victorian brick townhouse — a 28-year project. She developed her love for dollhouses after receiving one from her mother that she fell in love with as a child.

"I had always been interested in dollhouses and miniatures since childhood and decided to design and build a dollhouse to help keep a positive outlook," said Styczynski. She self-published a book called "Mary Anne's Dollhouse and How it Came to Be" in 2012. But the construction of the dollhouse began long before that, after a family vacation at Maine's Orchard Beach in 1985. Styczynski spent the ride home from Orchard Beach tending to her then-11-year-old daughter, Julie, who was restless and dehydrated. Mary Anne could tell her husband, Jack, was worried from the look in his eyes.

"I knew he was asking me if I wanted him to stop," she said.

Read the ret of the article here.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The miraculous healing power of a doll’s house - Dollhouses in the News

Read the full article here

In a new exhibition at the Museum of Childhood, dolls’ houses offer tiny windows into another time. Jessie Burton, author of ‘The Miniaturist’, explores her lifelong fascination with shrunken worlds

Honey I shrunk the kitchen: the Killer Cabinet House, 1835-1838, on show at the V&A Museum of Childhood V&A

When I was eight, I was taken to the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. I remember an unending corridor of glass vitrines, behind which loomed exquisite dolls’ houses. It was a giddy experience in the land of adults, and I have never forgotten it. For once, I was a giant; but it was not simply the power of proportion in my favour. Past lives thrummed in these tiny rooms, easily animated by childish imagination. Creativity unlocked adventure.

By the age of 27, I was struggling in my professional life. Things were not going right; everything I wanted felt constantly out of my grasp. I had not thought much about dolls’ houses in the intervening years – I was a grown-up, after all – but on a visit to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, my preoccupation with these unreachable rooms returned. Petronella Oortman’s cabinet house was built in 1686; its beauty stole my breath and became the mainspring of my novel, The Miniaturist.
The Dutch cabinet house of Petronella Oortman, from Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum

We like to believe that we have left childish things behind, as if, in adulthood, they have no importance – but that Dutch cabinet house was a timely reminder for me about the illusion of control and the often impenetrable distance between ourselves and what we desire. There is nothing infantile about an enormous cabinet that took 19 years to build and furnish, enamelled in tortoiseshell and pewter, costing as much as a townhouse in the most expensive part of Amsterdam.

Indeed, the house was not intended as a toy – rather, it was a status enhancement for a wealthy merchant couple, a proto-Facebook where they put their ideal life on show. People would come and visit their real house, and witness the miniature version, waiting in the hall. Like many cabinet houses of the time, every room was a replica of Oortman’s real home, crammed with tiny Venetian glasses, oil paintings, silver candlesticks the length of a pin, a working fountain, hidden chambers, a library with calligraphy books no larger than a stamp, ceramics and silks shipped from the Indies. Anything she owned in full-size, she had shrunk down so that she could see all her treasures in one glance of her eye. It was, you might argue, a reminder of the Netherlands’ extraordinary imperial power.

Read the rest of the article here

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Transformer dollhouse turns into a chair : Dollhouses in the News

I have to admit I would rather have a dollhouse than another chair.
Read more about it here

Friday, December 19, 2014

Interiors: a doll's house from the Museum of Childhood - Dollhouses in the News

By Halina Pasierbska

This weekend the Museum of Childhood opens an exhibition featuring 12 extraordinary doll’s houses made over the past 300 years. Halina Pasierbska looks inside Whiteladies House, a very stylish modernist villa forever stuck in 1935, where the cocktails are on ice and the pool party is in full swing.

It was after seeing illustrations of a grand 18th-century German doll’s house that the artist Moray Thomas decided to design one herself. Whiteladies House was built in 1935 and was inspired by the handful of modernist buildings that had begun to crop up in Hampstead, north London (Wells Coates’s iconic Isokon building was completed a year earlier). Its flat-roofed, geometric shape and white render is typical of the experimental architecture of the day.

Whiteladies was more a social observation than a children’s toy. According to an illustrated pamphlet, Thomas managed ‘to record in miniature the habits, homes, tastes and ideas of the people of today – the young people who are unhampered by choice possessions of old furniture or by old conventions of drawing rooms, calling hours, formal manners or privacy... A generation bred in one war and living its little time of sunshine to the full before the next one.’

Bearing this in mind, there is a poignancy in the care-free gathering that the viewer is invited to witness: its eccentric inhabitants and their friends are frozen in time, sunning themselves, diving into the pool and laying the table for an alfresco meal in the loggia.
A two-storey galleried lounge occupies the centre of the house, with full-length windows opening on to the garden. It also connects with an open-air dining room on the side. The lounge is equipped with a glass cocktail bar and contemporary furniture in white sycamore.

Whiteladies was designed by Thomas and built by William Purse, of whom little is known apart from the fact that he was a chauffeur and talented carpenter. Thomas made the decorations, hangings and pipe-cleaner inhabitants with the help of Basil Hunt, a Sussex road-mender with a passion for model-making. The facade of the doll’s house is hinged, making it possible to look beyond the front door (complete with silver knocker) and have a closer inspection of the rooms. The interior is modern, with Bauhaus-inspired tubular steel furniture, a turquoise-coloured circular free-standing bathtub and murals by the British futurist artist Claude Flight among the standout contemporaneous pieces. What is also intriguing is the attire and behaviour of the people within it. The inhabitants of Whiteladies are a privileged set, tennis rackets in hand and never far from a (miniature) soda syphon.

The bathroom has an air of luxury about it, with its contemporary mirror glass and silver fittings.

Thomas had an altruistic reason for embarking on this project too, which was to raise funds for the Bond Street ward of the Middlesex Hospital. As such it is one of the oldest existing charity doll’s houses. Whiteladies House was exhibited at the Building Centre at 158 New Bond Street in London in May 1936; later that year it was offered as a loan to the children’s exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 1937 it became a gift to the museum. Sir Eric Maclagan, who was the director of the V&A at the time, and who is credited with broadening the museum’s public appeal, wrote to thank Thomas for her donation. ‘I accept Whiteladies House with real enthusiasm. It delighted me when I first saw it and it is a centre of attraction at present in our exhibition for boys and girls in the North Court.’ As Whiteladies goes back on display nearly eight decades later, I suspect it will capture the imaginations of a new generation of visitors who gather to observe the life in miniature that Thomas managed to capture.

The kitchen is situated on the ground floor. It is simply but adequately equipped, which is typical of kitchens at this time. It has a hygienic rubber floor and boasts some comparatively recently introduced household appliances, such as a refrigerator, an electric cooker, vacuum cleaner and iron.

The exterior
This wooden modernist construction makes much use of glass and cream and green paint. The balcony was inspired by one that the artist Moray Thomas had admired in an Austrian house in the summer of 1935. There is a definite atmosphere of Mediterranean-style living – sun, fresh air and good health were encouraged at the time. The pipe-cleaner inhabitants are among many items made by Thomas from inexpensive materials. Through the chromium doors, which can be closed in winter, is the sandblasted outside-dining loggia, with an incised design on the wall and stone furniture.

The indoor dining area is designed more for style than for comfort. The floor is lined with black and terracotta tiles. The chairs in the style of Mies van der Rohe are up to the minute. The delicate blue-glass wine set was, like the chairs, probably made in Germany.

The walls of this room on the upper storey are decorated with scenes illustrating a day in the lives of the people who live in the house and their guests. There are two further bedrooms on this level: a maid’s room and a spare room. In a letter to the museum in July 1956, Thomas revealed that the mural decorations in the house were by Claude Flight and other artists, including herself.

Read the original article here.