The History Of Doll House
A famous children's film series Return of the Antelopes became the talk of the town more than a decade ago for its simple but interesting plot. Other than the good plot, it was because of the three Lilliputians featured in the film, that people still remember it and also the doll house in which those teensy weensy people lived. I still remember the miniature replica fully equipped with tiny beds, rugs, dining table etc. and also its three stupid occupants.It is surprising, rather interesting, to know that doll houses are not mere toys built to amuse young girls who long to see their Barbies living in a house of their own with their innumerable accessories. In fact, doll houses have a fabulous history which dates back to 1558 (long before Ruth Handler created the Barbie) when the duke of Bavaria got a doll house made for his daughter. The poor daughter didn't get to keep it though. The duke later changed his mind and secured it in his private collection for it was so beautifully made. It is gathered that the earlier doll house followed the Gothic pattern of architecture having windows with pointed arches and coloured glasses, ogival hoods, crockets and finials.The chapels built at that time and today are no less than the actual house in design, interiors etc, except that they are much smaller in size. A well-furnished doll house is one with bedrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, library and swimming pool. For accessories it has a fridge, carpets, chairs, sofas, paintings, chandeliers, crockery and what not. The largest of them might be six feet long with stables and lawn but still it would be too small to accommodate even a human child.Doll houses fall into the category of toys, no matter how luxurious they are, but it sounds a bit unbelievable that they have been kept as museum pieces and collector's items and extremely valued for their exquisiteness by lords, kings and queens. Germany is known as the ancestral home of doll houses and Japan is famous for its unrivalled traditional doll palaces. Here you can read about some of the world famous doll houses.
Imagine how artistic would have been the one that put to work cabinet makers to make its kitchen, qualified artists to make special miniature-sized paintings for its rooms and guess what! Special writers were commissioned to write books for its libraries. When the hard work of an army of craftsmen was combined Titania's Palace was made in Dublin. The remarkable architectural classic was opened by Queen Mary in 1922 and it raised 100,000 pounds for charity when it was put on display the world over. It is adjudged as one of the best doll houses and its structure portrays Victorian architecture of its time. One of the members of Royal Society of Miniature Painting, Sir Neville Wilkinson specially made paintings for it.
The Stromer House
Germanishes National Museum in Nuremberg displayed a doll house "The Stromer House" many years back and it was said to be one of the finest of all doll houses. The year it was made is 1639, and with its panelled walls, tiled kitchen complete with utensils, and decorated ceilings it became an invaluable collector's item.
The Fairy Castle
The fairytale characters come to life when one sets eyes on this nine-foot-square, half million dollar fantastic doll house, ‘The Fairy Castle'. It was owned by a movie actress of the ‘20s and Mrs James Roosevelt, mother of Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of USA laid its golden cornerstone in 1935. It is valued as the most celebrated doll house of the USA and after it toured a host of countries to raise charity it was displayed at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. It is terrific to see the interiors designed on the pattern of fairy tales. Its different chambers depict various fairy tales like, Sleeping Beauty, Singing Nightingale, Aladdin's Lamp, Weeping Willow and Cinderella. Its fully furnished rooms are worth viewing, specially its diamond chandelier.
The most famous of all
This simply sounds unbelievable that Sir Edwin Lutyens, the person who designed the city of New Delhi and British Embassy in Washington, laid out the blueprints of the doll house that was gifted to Queen Mary by her subjects in 1924. And guess what, Rudyard Kipling and Galsworthy lent their services to write books that could be read with the aid of magnifying glass for its library. Furthermore accomplished artists produced finest paintings for its walls. The toy house leaves behind the rest with its running taps offering hot and cold water and electric lifts.
Those who want to read more about doll houses look for A History of Dolls' Houses and A Book of Dolls and Dolls Houses by Flora Gill Jacobs.