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Archive for June, 2013

Open House Miniatures - Rose and Forget-me-not needlework miniature cushion

The Great Tidy Up is still in progress, and I unearthed these cushions some time ago.

I been waiting (not very patiently) for a little bit of sunshine in order to photograph them because the chart really doesn’t show the design to advantage.

They are worked in wool on 22 count canvas and are backed with thick silk from an old shirt, and are roughly one and half inches square (3.8 cm)

(I just kept working the background until it was the size that looked right to me.)

They were a little bit fiddly to embroider, but I think that they repaid the effort.

Open House Miniatures - Rose and Forget-me-not miniature needlework chart

To enlarge the chart, just click on it.

This chart is rather lurid and bright because it makes the different colours easier to identify.

The original (Victorian) chart was rather faded and not at all easy to follow.

Later the same day…

I have just asked about colours for this pattern –

Well, in the cushions that I worked there are –

3 blues (dark blue, mid-blue and pale blue) – these are distinctly different shades.

Lemon yellow (for the centre of the forget-me-nots)

3 greens (dark green, mid-green, paler green) – the dark green and the mid green blend and the paler green is quite a bit paler.

And for the rose –

1 pale pink, 1 dusky pink, 1 deepish “rose” hue, 1 “rose” red

Just off-white for the background.

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I think it is fun to play with the colour combinations and make something that is entirely your own and right for your house.

For example, the design works well with a white to blush pink/apricot roses, pink to red forget-me-nots and bronze / green foliage.

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Yootha Rose - British Pathe News Film Footage

I have just had a piece of really good luck.

I have been looking everywhere on-line for references to someone called Yootha Rose and it turns out that she is this month’s

“Personality of the Month” on the Royal Pavillion, Museums & Libraries website

I don’t know how long her (very) short biography is going to be available there –

Yootha Rose was born in Australia in 1899 when her father, the singer Charles Rose, was touring with Nellie Melba.

Afterwards the family returned to England and, when she was 18, Yootha joined a concert party and entertained troops during the First World War. She then went on to design sets for various West End musicals.

During the Second World War, she taught at a school in Dorset and it was here that she began making toys. She was a success, making 16 toys for the ‘Britain Can Make It’ exhibition and received orders for 40,000 more.

She also provided toys for royalty, including a roundabout for Prince Charles and dolls for Princess Anne.

Using pottery, wood, paper and fabrics, she created a wide range of toys, from carved wooden balloonists to tinsel angels.

In 1952, Yootha was appointed a trustee of the National Toy Museum. Seven years later she became its Honorary Curator. The Museum moved to the Grange in Rottingdean in 1959 and the collection was taken over by the Brighton Corporation in 1971.

It finally moved to Hove Museum & Art Gallery where many items from the collection are on display in the Wizard’s Attic gallery.

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Why I am looking for information on Yootha Rose is a long and involved story (with which I will not bore you).

Part of the very, very involved explanation is that a couple of weeks ago I was trying to think of dolls’ house / miniatures related places to visit (in the UK).

They certainly exist in the real world, but finding them on- line is well-nigh impossible.

Try  finding photographs? – forget it !

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I am now going to make some sweeping (possibly untrue) generalisations, but please bear with me –

Generalisation Number 1

The culture in the UK is literal and literary.

We write words here. Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, Swift, Addison, Bronte, Austen, Thackeray, Dickens, more that I can possibly name, Terry Pratchett…

(People like Robert Adam did “useful” things like architecture.)

Pictures are not very “useful”. They maybe nice to look at but they are not “useful” – unless they are a diagram and come with a nice written description.

This gives me a bit of a problem when someone asks me if there is anywhere they can go to look at dolls’ houses and miniatures in the UK.

I can tell people about –

The Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood

(their virtual tour doesn’t work on my computer)

and

The Museum of London (London Wall site)

I can suggest to people that they should visit places such as –

Spencer House

(Never mind the (wonderful) model that Mulvany and Roger’s created, you can walk around inside the real thing).

and

Hever Castle

(The last time I visited Hever, John Hodgson’s (very fine) models were still on display, but I can’t find a reference to them on the Castle’s website).

(I have called the above “models” and not dolls’ houses on purpose. Words matter.)

I can then suggest that people (once they know what to look for) visit Flickr, or Picasa, or their photo-sharing site of choice, in the hopes that a nice person has been allowed to take photographs.

However, in most places you are –

 Not Allowed to Take Photographs and Will be Asked to Leave if you Do.

I don’t blame the museums / galleries for this apparent lack of understanding.

I have been to Paris once in my life, and the trip contained a visit to The Louvre.

I was bemused at the way a number of visitors dashed around taking photographs of everything with their mobile phones.

They didn’t appear to be looking at anything, just dash, stop, hold up phone, click, next, dash, stop, hold up phone, click, next…

But then, art galleries are (if you ask me) fairly weird places anyway.

The paintings weren’t painted to be displayed like that, were they?

If you can make only one trip this summer, it must be to Houghton Hall in Norfolk. Over a period of five months, Houghton will stage one of the most outstanding exhibitions ever seen in a British country house. Over 60 paintings from the great collection amassed in the mid-18th century by Sir Robert Walpole, and later bought by Catherine the Great of Russia, will return from St Petersburg to Houghton Hall. More than that, thanks to lists, inventories and even the recently discovered original hanging plans found neatly folded in a drawer in Walpole’s desk, most of the paintings will hang in the same positions that they occupied in the 1740s. The grandest will be back in the great gilded frames first designed for them by William Kent.

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/ra-magazine/spring-2013/houghton-hall-return-journey,471,RAMA.html

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Generalisation Number 2

The majority of the British population think that –

  • Dolls’ Houses are toys.
  • Toys are for children.
  • Dolls’ Houses are for children and therefore “childish”.

In my experience, my most people, on seeing a dolls’ house item that does not fit into clear category of “a toy designed to be played with by children” (i.e. not plastic, not Lego, not packaged), will say –

“That’s nice. Isn’t is small. What’s it for?”

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How depressing can I be…?

I know of three magazines devoted to dolls’ houses and miniatures in the UK.

In no particular order they are –

The Dolls’ House Magazine

Dolls House and Miniature Scene

Dollshouse World

In the interests of research, I have spent the past couple of weeks trying to find any of these in my local shops.

However, they are not stocked anywhere locally and so, as I don’t read any of them on subscription, I can’t tell you anything about their contents.

Christiane Berridge is editor of The Dolls’ House Magazine and in a interview she described the typical reader of her magazine as –

Female, +45, family focused, general interest in crafts, a home-lover, her dolls’ house will be a form of escape from her ‘real’ life.

(The full interview is here – http://www.featuresexec.com/bulletin/interview_article.php?id=7483#.UZdI30p7TAk )

( By the way, there are plenty of magazines on model railways and model-making for war-gaming to be found in even my small, independent newsagent.)

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The point of all this being?

The UK dolls’ house world (as I know it) is very well hidden.

There is no way of showing places that don’t allow photographs.

There is no way of showing the work of makers who have absolutely no interest in having their work in magazines, let alone, perish the thought, on-line!

(You will have to trust me and believe that such people exist.)

So it is not possible to to show the very small, nearly invisible, secret, obscure, intensely creative British dolls’ house world that I know exists.

However, the weather has been appalling recently (rain, rain and more rain) and it has been impossible to take photographs, or make slideshows, so I have been using my “internet time” to play with Pinterest.

Firstly, because I needed somewhere to keep my “this might interest you to visit” links and then as a sort of a challenge –

I know about this, does it exist on-line?

Why doesn’t it exist on-line?

Is it called / masquerading as something else?

Found it !!!!

If you would like to see the result of my efforts so far, my miniscule Pinterest collection, it is here – http://pinterest.com/ohmep

Open House Miniatures on Pinterest

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Finally, if you find your blog or website on one of my Pinterest boards and would like me to remove it, please let me know and I will do so at once.

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