Life in Miniature

Things in miniature have always delighted and amused me.  As a child I was obsessed by Queen Mary's tower of a dolls house (displayed at Windsor castle), complete with functional plumbing and electric lights.  I was too young to appreciate it was designed by Lutyens and contained fashionable items such as scale size bound books by Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling. Spoilt doesn't even come close.  I was desperate to jump behind the glass and play, my eyes would scour every inch of detail. So it should not come as a suprise that I've recently acquired my own dolls house.  A 1950s Tudor style dolls model made by the popular toy manufacturer Triang, probably between 1949 and 1954 (from the look of the windows).  In this day and age, it might seem a bit odd for a thirty something girl to own a dolls house.  But the idealised interiors of these tiny houses were originally designed as a hobby for adults over 400 years ago.

Triang made various dolls house models which reflected various modern British architecture.  The Tudor style endured as their most popular style.  With it's mock Tudor half timbering, lead lattice windows, matching garage, there's a touch of The Good Life about it isn't there?  A slice of suburbia.  Tom and Barbara digging for self sufficiency in the garden, Jerry and Margot serving cocktails and discussing places they might never visit.  And why not? Everybody looked down on suburbia with distaste, but was it the pinnacle of modern civilisation?  Nostalgic, country cottage style houses built for the aspiring middle classes within a commutable distance to London.  With a lack of servants being made up for by all mod cons, such as bathrooms and electric lighting.  An Englishman's home is his castle and all that. These aspirations were so ingrained in our culture they filtered down to children's toys.

My dolls house might not be a patch on Queen Anne's, but it is papered with parquet flooring, has a miniature cast iron letterbox and floral curtains which is enough for me to play with.   A little slice of history and a powerful statement.

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