Saturday, March 28, 2015

Can you identify these dollhouses?

A friend recently acquired some lovely antique dollhouses, but we don't know anything about them. Are they are commercial, or hand made. Are they German? American? British? How old are they?. If you can help identify them please let me know. If not, that's okay too. Thanks for looking.

This one looks like a German house from the early 1900s. Many houses had garages in the 1920s when cars were becoming popular. Could it be a Gottschalk, or an Albin Schonherr? The round bay window is unusual, and it has a small balcony on the upper floor. 

This house also has a round bay window. It has been heavily restored with new paint and brick paper on the foundation, so it is hard to say what it originally looked like. The side porch and the balcony railing are similar to Gottschalk houses, but the mansard roof is like many Christian Hacker houses. The interior is accessible only by lifting the roof.

This wonderful house has two rooms inside. It looks older then the 2 houses above.

This is the back view

This is the side view.

This unusual house is made to hang on a wall. Doors swing open on the two front sections, but the attic is accessible only from the back where there is a small opening. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle refurbished

Watch a Time-Lapse viseo of an $8 Million Dollhouse Being Put Back Together

From Mental Floss

The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago recently completed a 9-month conservation of its Fairy Castle, an elaborate dollhouse created by silent film star Colleen Moore and donated to the museum in 1949.

The Fairy Castle was built with a plumbing and electrical system—the bathtubs have real running water, the chandeliers light—and filled with collected and custom made exquisite objects, like tiny gold plates and crystal glasses, miniature needlepoint tapestries, the smallest Bible in the world, actual Ancient Egyptian mini-statues, and a sliver of the true cross, given to Moore’s friend Clare Boothe Luce by the Pope. The castle cost $500,000 to create in 1935, equivalent to over $8 million in today’s dollars.

Above, you can watch a time-lapse video of the castle being put back together by the conservation team. It shows the objects being placed back into the rooms in accordance with the original intention: to give the impression “that a fairy had been there but left just moments ago.”

For more about Moore’s Fairy Castle, visit The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago.

Friday, February 20, 2015

1940 Dining Room for Dolls for 7" to 8" dolls

This beautifully made dining room set was hand crafted around 1940. The detail of the set is amazing. It is a large scale  - probably for 8" dolls. 

The set is too big for a 1:12 scale dollhouse. I will have to make a room box for it. This setting is a temporary box made from artist canvases. The paintings are held up by magnets. I didn't want to damage the canvases with pins or tape.
I think it was built before Ginny was popular and decades before Barbie arrived on the market, so I would be curious to know what doll originally went with the set.
The table extends to include one board. The table legs are very detailed.

Each chair has a hand-carved back and hand carved legs. 

The server, like the other pieces, has hand carved legs.

The buffet is beautifully made.

The china cabinet has cellophane in the door to mimic glass. The design in the door is hand cut.

This is a little flapper type doll made in Germany in the 1920s

This doll is too early for the set as her 1920's frock shows, but she is the right size for it.

The set included a 1940 "The Great Allentown Fair Exhibitor" form.  This Pennsylvania Fair has been held in early Fall since 1852.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Bleuette Art Deco bedroom

This wonderful bedroom set appears to have been handmade for some lucky little girl many decades ago.
I have been meaning to blog about this bedroom set for a while now.

The problem was that I had it packed away. I am trying to organize my doll collection, so I am pulling bins and boxes out of various closets and storage spaces. What an overwhelming mess! I have to sort everything and categorize it before I can put things away again. Yikes!
This set is a perfect size for the famous French Bleuette

I bought this sweet doll thinking she was a Bleuette, but I cannot match her markings to that elusive girl. She is one number off, so she may be a sister. She was made by the SFBJ organization in Paris circa 1920s.
I feel that the set was made in the 1920s or 1930s. The craftsmanship is beautiful. The dolls are about 10 inches high, so I suppose the scale is just under 1/6th.
Bleuette's friend is also from Paris. I got her there when I went in 2012 to stay with CM. She was a less inexpensive doll than the fully jointed Bleuette. I blogged about Bleuettes in the Musee de la Poupee in Paris here.

Bleuette seems happy with her room. She has real eyelashes and cute little teeth.

Nap time.

All the doors and drawers work. The set is beautifully constructed

Room for the chamber pot. I guess each girl has their own

I love the little design extras like the cut-outs in these pieces.

All ready to add clothes.

The mirror still reflects after 80+ years

Monday, February 2, 2015

It's a small world – unless you're the dolls staying in one of the 43 rooms of this stunning 1920s replica hotel: Dollhouses in the News

Creator, a former software developer, has no formal training in making dolls' houses

  • Miniature marvel weighing 60st has everything from a wood-panelled bar, to revolving doors and a boiler room
With its intricate detail, beautiful craftsmanship and 43 rooms, the owner of this 1920s replica dolls hotel will undoubtedly be the envy of other collectors.

The miniature marvel is the handiwork of talented Tim Hartnell, a dolls house maker who has spent seven months creating the glitzy masterpiece

The 56-year-old took seven months to complete the work for a delighted American private collector in Texas.

Miniature marvel: As normal dollhouse electrics could not support the massive wattage needed for the complex lighting scheme, Mr Hartnell had to use mainstream components to light up the masterpiece
Miniature marvel: As normal dollhouse electrics could not support the massive wattage needed for the complex lighting scheme, Mr Hartnell had to use mainstream components to light up the masterpiece

The former computer software developer quit the rat race in 2008 to chase his dream and make bespoke dolls houses.
Mr Hartnell, of Soham, Cambridgeshire, said: 'I really love what I do now and I've never looked back for a minute.'


It's a phenomenal feat of design and creativity on a small but beautiful scale, measuring 6ft wide by 48' deep and 8ft 6' high.

Every 12th scale guest requirement is catered for as the hotel features a wood panelled bar, restaurant, ladies powder room, shops, a wine cellar, luggage store, pantry, laundry and boiler room.

Can we stay there? The hotel has it's own wood pannelled bar, shops, restaurant and ladies powder room
Can we stay there? The hotel has its own wood panelled bar, shops, restaurant and ladies powder room
Fancy: The creator spent seven months completing his brilliant 43-room masterpiece and says he has learned a lot about engineering - despite having no formal training in the miniature craft
Fancy: The creator spent seven months completing his brilliant 43-room masterpiece and says he has learned a lot about engineering - despite having no formal training in the miniature craft
The grand building boasts six floors with five staircases and each of the 80 windows has been specially hand-made to get the big panes and for the glazing in the revolving entrance door.
Incredibly, Tim has only been making dolls houses full time for four years and has no formal training except for advice given to him as a youngster by his uncle, a top cabinet maker.
'I've learnt a huge amount about engineering something of this complexity as the project has evolved,' he admitted.
'I've also been overwhelmed by the help and kindness of fellow miniaturists who have advised and assisted me on specialist areas of the build.'
Each bedroom is themed and fully decorated - from an impossibly opulent Louis XIV room with gilt details and vaulted ceiling to a Georgian room and panelled oak Tudor room.
The commercial kitchen features quarry tiles on the floor and typical kitchen doors with round porthole windows leading to hotel staff stairs and service corridors which span to the 6th floor.
The majestic entrance to the hotel has a canopy, working revolving door and an elevator, which was very typical for a post-war hotel of the Roaring Twenties.
Spotless: The carefully crafted design brings the roaring twenties back to life (in a very small version)
Spotless: The carefully crafted design brings the roaring twenties back to life (in a very small version)
The foyer is elegantly tiled in a chequerboard style and a luscious marble staircase, with glorious wrought iron balustrade, spirals gracefully to the mezzanine floor and doors to the giant ballroom.
The ballroom itself showcases a minstrel's gallery and fabulous plaster mouldings.
The hotel has been fully decorated and fitted with lighting throughout.
That was an achievement itself as any cabling and circuits needed to run seamlessly and discreetly within the 11-piece structure of the building.
As the hotel is so large, normal dollhouse electrics could not support the massive wattage needed for the complex lighting scheme.
'So mainstream commercial components have been used to feed the tiny room circuits,' said Tim.
He has installed 70 electric sockets and over 200 metres of cable with 42 switches to control the lights in each of the rooms and the chandelier lights in the ballroom have 36 tiny bulbs.
Tim established Anglia Dolls Houses in 2008.
He specialises in hand-making 1/12th scale Georgian and Regency dolls houses which he exhibits at doll house and miniatures events across the UK.
His tiny but perfectly-formed works of art cost from £1,850 up to £8,500.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Istanbul's Koç Museum presents doll houses - Dollhouses in the News

The Rahmi M. Koç Museum in Istanbul has organized a special “Doll House” exhibition, displaying a collection of new doll houses.

The collection has been created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the museum.

Doll houses produced since the 19th century in the U.S., Germany, France and Britain are on display in the exhibition, which presents miniature houses created by hobbyists and toymakers.

The houses have been decorated with miniature furniture and baby dolls, reflecting the rich history of the art.

The exhibition includes pieces from various lifestyles, such as the wooden Ruby Villa and a Victorian era-made Marquetry villa, which were made for Ruby Gibs in 1880 and the Gottschalk Doll House, which was designed as a summer resort by German Moritz Gottschalk in 1910.

The exhibition at the Koç Museum will continue until June 16, 2015.

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