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A Dollhouse Fit For a Queen: Queen Mary’s Dollhouse

A dollhouse conceived and created as a gift to Queen Mary, wife of King George V, from the British people, Queen Mary’s dollhouse is one of a kind, and one of the most famous dollhouses in the world. Princess Marie Louise, a cousin of the Queen is credited with coming up with the idea for the dollhouse and with convincing Sir Edwin Lutyens, a renowned British architect to take on the job of designing the house. The dollhouse took four years to complete and contains contributions from artisans all over the world including artists, furniture craftsmen, and even authors.

An accurate depiction of royal life
The concept behind the Queen Mary dollhouse was to show how a royal family would have lived during the time
 period of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. No expense was spared to make the depiction as realistic as possible. In this dollhouse, a miniature royal family could move right in without a problem. There is hot and cold running water in miniature pipes, flushable toilets, electricity, and even working elevators or lifts. An effort was made to ensure that the depiction of royal life also included all the servants and life ‘below stairs’ was also accurate. Just in case, another Royal stopped in for a glass of wine there is fully stocked miniature wine cellar and a garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll to stroll in. Visitors will also find a library of perfect miniature books written by authors of the day.

Princess Marie Louise
In addition to being her concept, Princess Marie Louise is also the person who had the right contacts in the field of the arts to find the finest in artisans to create all the miniature workings and furniture for the dollhouse. Over 1500 artisans are known to have created items for use in famous miniature house. As part of the mission, artisans were asked to design miniature replicas of antiques and other items that are part of Windsor Castle.

The construction
Begun in 1920, the dollhouse is built to the popular one inch to one foot scale 1:12, one of the most commonly used dollhouse scales. The finished dollhouse stands more than three feet high. In addition to well known craftsmen, the construction and miniatures were also made by miniature specialists including the Twining Models of Northampton.

On exhibit
When the dollhouse was first completed it made its public debut at the British Empire Exhibition held in 1924 and was used as a fundraiser for British charities. As one of the most famous dollhouses ever created, the dollhouse now resides in the Windsor Castle in Berkshire, England.

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