Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Queen Mary's Doll House

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value the house as an historical document."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.

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