Posts Tagged ‘hand-painted’

Open House Miniatures - dolls' house painted wall clock - c. 1830

This painted wall clock is made from wood and card.

It has a printed dial and does not have a working movement.

The dial and the decorative cut-out are protected by acetate.

The decoration is hand painted and this one has faded roses, intermixed with gilded decoration.

I have made a pattern for the clock, but as the decoration is all done by hand, no two clocks ever look exactly the same.

And – as I only paint in “good” daylight – I don’t make these as often as I would like to.



1 and 3/4 inches long

1 and 1/16th inches wide

1/4  inches deep (at clock face)

approx ( 4.5 cm x 3.8cm x .5cm )



I saw the original of this clock in an auction some years ago.

It was catalogued as being English (circa 1830), made of papier-mache and by an unknown maker.

It was LARGE  – 30 inches long by 19 inches wide  and 5 inches deep – and sold for a eye-opening sum of money.

My version is therefore smaller than 12th scale – and a little more affordable.


Please Note – this miniature clock is not a “Toy”. It is a “Collector’s Item”

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A Folding Fire Screen

We had rain and snow and howling wind this afternoon.

One of these days I am going to get an afternoon of steady, boring sunshine – one day …

Open House Miniatures - Dolls' House Fire Screen

This fire screen is constructed from acid free card, and it is fully hinged so that it can be adjusted to fit a variety of fireplaces.

The picture is painted on fine watercolour paper, which has been fixed to the card. A shallow frame has then been added, and the whole had been finished with a coat of satin varnish.



2 inches tall – bottom to top of arch – (5cm)

Middle section – 1 and 7/16th inches wide – (3.1cm)

Each side section –  9/16th of an inch wide – (1.4cm)



Fire screens of this type were usually used to disguise an empty grate, or to hide an un-lit fire.

The picture on this screen is painted in a style that would not have been out of place in a late Regency or early Victorian setting.



This miniature fire screen is not a “toy” – it is a “collector’s item”

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A Chinese Screen

Open House Miniatures - dolls' house screen

I greatly admire the way in which masters of Chinese and Japanese lacquerware achieve beautiful, intricate decoration with a few colours.

My attempts to produce similar effects always leave me unsatisfied with the result – but at least this means that I have an incentive to keep on trying !

I haven’t photographed any of my efforts before and was surprised at how reflective the black background was – even the subdued gloss on the front of this screen picked up all sorts of reflections that I had not noticed.

This made me wonder how much my eye and brain “edit out” – as the reflections must have been there (or the camera could not have photographed them) although I did not “see” them.

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Open House Miniatures - white elephant screen for doll's house

This White Elephant Screen owes a great deal to Graham Rust, whose book The Painted House is crammed full of designs for murals, screens and fireboards – not to mention studies from nature of flowers, shells, fruit, scenery and wildlife.

It is also full of excellent, professional advice on how to plan a painted project and tips on how to achieve perspective and lighting effects.

I would dearly like – if only I had somewhere to put it ! – a dolls’ house that I could decorate with his designs.

Unfortunately, I am fairly certain that I could never put any furniture in such a house as I would not want to cover up the murals.

My attempt at a compromise is the White Elephant Screen, which is adapted from one of the room plans in The Painted House.

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In the introduction Mr Rust writes that The Painted House is:

…is intended to serve as a pattern book for professional painters and a source of inspiration for those seeking ideas for the decoration of their houses…

This does not mean to say that his designs are copyright free and, if you buy his book and use his ideas, please make sure you give him full credit.

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Open House Miniatures screen for a doll's house before varnishing - detail

We have had bright sunshine, lowering clouds and fitful gusts of  heavy rain all this weekend.

So, as the planned tidying of the garden was not possible, I thought I would make use of the dramatic cloud effects and get a project under way.

I have never seen a cherub (!) and so the two featured here are (loosely) based on ones in (separate / different) paintings by Fragonard, but the sky effects are all summer in Derbyshire !

I used pressed block watercolour and built up layers of paint in an effort to recreate the luminous effect of oils – and then held my breath while applying two very thin layers of varnish.

The overall effect is, I think, rather pleasing and not too brightly coloured.

Certainly good enough for a working plan / sketch !

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