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A Little bit about Dolls' Houses
Dolls' houses come in as many designs as their full size counterparts. From simple metal Triang mock Tudor houses made in the 1930's to modern dolls house and replicas of various styles and architectures throughout history. In the United Kingdom, dolls houses and miniatures is the second biggest hobby. It is enjoyed at home and the pleasure of creating is equalled by the pleasure given to many when viewing your creation.

Famous Dolls' Houses

The most famous example in the world is Queen Mary's dolls' house permanently on view at Windsor Castle. Designed by the architect Sir Edward Lutyens it look a team of craftsmen three years to complete between 1921 and 1924. It was made on a scale of 1:12 and everything in the house is perfection with running water, a full electricity supply and a working lift.

Early Examples

The earliest examples to be made came from Bavaria and Holland in the late 16th century and were made in a large scale and they resembled cabinets more than houses. In the 17th and 18th centuries dolls houses were usually made on commission by cabinet makers for rich patrons and sometimes in a country estate, the local carpenter would make an example based on the design of her home for the young mistress of the house. Bavarian and American examples were often made from pine and then applied with coloured lithograph paper to give the brick and tiled effect on the outside and with opening fronts, each internal room was decorated with wallpaper and later examples had electric lighting.

Open Rooms

Another type of miniatures are the open room and shop examples made without roofs and frontages they include simple room settings such as a kitchen that can then be fitted with furnishings with all the pots, pans and moulds that would have been found in a kitchen of the period. More rarely complete shop interiors including grocers and butchers can be found where all the fresh produce is reproduced in great detail in painted plaster or polymer clay and completely to scale.

Collecting

Having acquired a dolls house, the fun is spending time searching out pieces of the same period as the house and making sure that the scale is correct. The selection is endless with wooden, plastic and metal furniture and miniatures.

Furniture

20th century dolls' house furniture is much more prolific and more affordable, especially since the hobby boomed from the 1960's onwards. The collector of miniature furniture will have to search almost everywhere to find good examples. One of the best ways to increase a collection is to attend one of the specialist dolls fairs regularly organised around the country where you will also meet craftsmen who make period pieces in all styles today.

Collecting dolls' houses and their contents therefore can appeal to many whatever their budget but beware, it can become addictive, and there always is just room to squeeze yet another tiny find into a small corner or if completely full, just buy a new house in miniature!

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