One day in 1911 two Edwardian gentleman sat down with scissors and paste and created a masterpiece – using illustrations from Whiteley’s Catalogue.
It was published under the title What a Life ! – (an autobiography E.V.L. & G.M.) – and I find it surreal, inventive and very funny.
It also provided the inspiration for my Whiteley’s Catalogue House –
so called because at the bottom of the first page…
there is the picture of a dolls’ house that is, to me, the absolute epitome of late Victorian suburban architecture,
I wanted one, in miniature, quite desperately the minute I saw it.
I made the first one at least 15 years ago now and I have just completed numbers 19 and 20.
Over the years they have changed a little bit here and there, but they are still one of my favourite houses to make.
Size wise they have remained pretty much the same – the base is 1 and 1/4 inches (3.15cm) wide by 1 inch (2.5cm) deep and from the base to the top of the chimney pots is approximately 2 and 1/5 inches (6.3cm).
I do not know who made the original house, or what size it was, or what colours it was painted in, so you could say that these are mostly my own invention, but they would never have been made if E.V.L. & G.M. had not sat down with scissors and paste and created What a Life !
What A Life! – (an autobiography E.V.L. & G.M.) , Collins edition 1987, ISBN 00 217796 X (possibly out of print)