Queen Mary's Doll House. This dollhouse, housed at Windsor Castle in
London, England is the most elaborate miniature every built. King
George V presented this house to Queen Mary in 1924, as a gift from
the people of England to show future generations how English royalty
lived in the early twentieth century.
The writer of a two official volume history of the house wrote: "If
we suppose that the present house lasts one for say, two hundred
years, the little mansion which seems positively the last word in
convenience and beauty our successors will look at it in
astonishment, and wonder that men could have ever designed to live in
so laborious and cumbrous way but at the same time, how they will
value the house as an historical document."
Princess Marie Louise was the first person to approach the idea of
creating such a masterpiece. She took her idea to one of the top
architects in England in that day, Sir Edwin Lutyens. Sir Edwin
immediately was caught up with the idea, he immediately began to
design a house that would: `be fit for a Queen". No expense or
amount of work was spared. He designed and with the help of the
finest artisans and designers of the day he began to design and build
a fully furnished miniature home that was accurate to items found at
Windsor Castle down to the finest minute detail even being fully
electrified. Each item in miniature worked just like the like item
at Windsor Castle.
The house built at 1:12 scale and nearly three and a half foot tall
and contains 40 rooms. Sir Edwin employed many artists and artisans
to work on the interior. The design, art and detail of this house
make it one of the most impressive miniatures ever created. He hired
electricians to make sure every light and chandelier worked, plumbers
to make each minute toilet flush, crafters to make sure the two
elevators stop at each and every floor individually. He hired
furniture craftsmen to duplicate the furniture found at Windsor and
copy its finest minute detail. There was a 1/12th scale gramophone
made and small records especially produced to play on it.
An exact copy was made of the Masters Voice Cabinet It measures
four inches high. The cabinet and motor took four months to complete
and was complete in every detail down to the gold plating. Even the
HMV logo was hand printed by Barraud, the artist that created
the "His Master's Voice" original. The hardest job in recreated the
gramophone in miniature was recreating the tiny sound box to give the
necessary amplification for the records to be played. Six records
were made. These are smallest records that actually work in the
world" being 1-5/16ths in diameter. One of the six records recorded
by Peter Dawson was "GOD Save The King" was pressed and sold as a
souvenir. The cover is an exact copy of the cover of the original
twelve-inch record used by the gramophone company. This tiny record
is very hard to find today. It can be played on a 78-RPM record
player by placing two 78's under the tiny record on the spindle to
build up the height.
The cupboards were stocked fully with canned goods had the same
labels of the popular brands of the day. The closets were stocked
with clothes like those in Windsor. A complete wine cellar was
created with miniature bottles with labels like the one in the
castle. Each little bottle contained about a thimbles worth of the
actual wine listed on the label. Rugs, curtains, linens were all
created to scale out of the same materials and fabrics as the
originals. The bathrooms even had toilet paper.
No detail was overlooked. Royal Doulton and Wedgewood china graced
the china closets. In the linen room among the linens is a Singer
sewing machine. Over 170 writers were commissioned including Poet
Laureate Robert Bridges, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, and many
other top writers and poets of the day to write stories for the
leather bound miniature books in the library. The most well-know
artists were used to supply art for the walls.
By the end of the project nearly 1500 people had been involved with
the creation of this house. Queen Mary was very joyous when she
first saw her gift. And asked that the house be shared with everyone
so people could see and enjoy the beauty and genius of this house.
The house first made its public appearance in 1924, at the British
Empire Exhibition attracting over two million visitors before being
placed at Windsor Castle where it remains today for all the see and
enjoy. In its protected environment it remains in an excellent state
of preservation. In a final Note to Sir Edwin Lutyens Queen Mary
wrote: I, as the proud possessor of this house, can never be
sufficiently grateful to you for having given so much of your time in
order to give me pleasure".
Below are several web sites that have pictures of Queen Mary's
Dollhouse. It is hard to believe this is in miniature.