Posts Tagged ‘miniature dolls’ house’

Sandford House

Open House Miniatures - Sandford Miniature Dolls' House (front)

This little two storey house was inspired by an Irish Baby House that I saw illustrated in an exhibition catalogue.

It is traditional in design and decorated in soft, clear colours on the outside, with boldly patterned papers on the inside.

There is a large range on the ground floor and a substantial fireplace on the first floor.

The front is fully hinged and the front door is fixed shut.

My houses are entirely handmade and they all vary slightly.



2 and 7/16th inches tall (to the top of the chimneys) – (6.3cm)

Just under 2 inches to the top of the roof – (5cm)

The base is 7/8th inches wide – (3.3cm x 3.6cm)  x 1 and 5/16th inches deep

The rooms are 7/8th inches deep inside (to the back wall) and just under 1 and 5/8th inches wide (2.3cm x 4cm)



The original “Sandford” was built in Dublin, Ireland in the 1790 and it was quite an extensive building with side wings.

Copy of Page 33 from Dolls' House Show Catalogue circa 1989

My version reflects the architecture of the 1700s / early 1800s, and is evocative of the solid, square villas in St. Johns Wood, London that I have always loved for their understated elegance and subtle exterior decoration.



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

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We had a gleam of sunshine earlier this week, so I tried to take some photographs of a Christian Hacker House that I had just finished.

They were not entirely successful, but they were not bad and the colours were …  nearly right … mostly…

If I sound grudging, it is because the house is very delicately  coloured and I don’t think I have managed to capture this very well.

Open House Miniatures - Christian Hacker dolls' house for a doll's house

The very little that I know about Christian Hacker boils down to a meagre 6 facts

  1. The Christian Hacker factory was founded in Nuremberg in 1835.
  2. They made many sorts of wooden toys – stables,  dolls’ houses, room sets, shops and castles (and many, many more).
  3. The toys were very high quality, often highly decorated and very expensive.
  4. The company twice won medals in Paris at the Great Exhibition.
  5. The company closed in 1927.
  6. If you are lucky the toy may be identified by a stamp, or  label, showing the company insignia of CH on a shield, under a crown

I have never found an old company catalogue for any of the Christian Hacker toys, and the most I have been able to find out about the house that I make in miniature, comes from Faith Eaton’s excellent – The Ultimate Dolls’ House Book (published by Dorling Kindersley).

This house , made in Nuremberg c1900, is typical of those created by Christian Hacker. Although some aspects varied to some extent, other features, such as the lift off mansard roof and the “French” look illustrated here, were invariably maintained.

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In my miniature version the mansard roof is fixed in place, but otherwise I feel it is very close to the spirit of the original.

Christian Hacker House from Faith Eaton's The Ultimate Dolls' House Book

From Faith Eaton's The Ultimate Dolls' House Book

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I am feeling very pleased and excited.

I think I have finally, positively, identified the original maker of my miniature Whiteley’s Catalogue House

And they are … G & J Lines

The house below is currently on eBay – with an asking price of £400

G and J Lines Dolls' House

One of the joys of eBay – for me at least – is reading the descriptions –

G & J Lines Dolls House c1900’s requiring restoration

Original interior papers, original fireplaces ( one grill missing), exterior original papers, but has been overpainted at sometime.

There is dormant woodworm in the roof and floor.

Bought with the intention of restoring but no time

Approx size Base 241/2 inches wide by 17 inches deep. Height 30 inches.

Please see pictures.

Cash on collection.  COLLECTION ONLY

There is dormant woodworm in the roof and floor !!! – is it asleep, or merely biding its time before leaping forth to devour everthing in sight?

Woodworm aside, and even without chimneys, it is a remarkable match for the one used as an illustration in What a Life!

What a Life! Chapter 1

For anyone interested, there is a good article on the Musuem of Childhood webpage about G & J Lines, who were important British toy makers of the late 19th and whose production continued well in to the 20th Century.

The Museum have also, very generously, made available the Tri-ang Toys Catalogue (Lines Bros), 1937-8

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Open House Miniatures - Never Again House - Number 18

It has been a long while since I made one of these houses and so timed myself  during the construction of this one – Number 18

Now I know why I used to call it the Never Again House

It took 17 hours from start to finish – not including the time taken to create the wallpaper designs from old fabric samples –  and I had managed to forget exactly how fiddly every single bit of it is

  • 13 windows – with glazing bars
  • 4 floors – with a fireplace on each floor
  • steps
  • decorative moulding

I could go on and on – and the end result is something that stands just under 4 inches (9.8cm) high

So, Never, Ever Again !

… till next time

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What a Life! - and autobiography  (authors E.V.L. & G.M.)

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…

What a Life! Chapter 1

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.

OPen House Miniatures - Whiteley's catalogue Dolls Houses, August 2011

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 !

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What A Life! – (an autobiography E.V.L. & G.M.) , Collins edition 1987, ISBN 00 217796 X (possibly out of print)

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