QUEEN MARY’S DOLLHOUSE is a magnificent dollhouse built in the early 1920′s, completed in 1924, for Queen Mary, Consort of King George V. The idea for building the dollhouse originally came from the Queen’s cousin, Princess Marie Louise who discussed her idea with one of the top architects of the time, Sir Edwin Lutyens at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition of 1921. Sir Edwin agreed to build the dollhouse and began preparations. Princess Marie Louise had many connections in the arts and arranged for the top artists and craftsmen of the time to contribute their specialities to the house. As a result the dollhouse is an amazing collection of miniature items that actually work.
It was creaated as a gift to Queen Mary from the people and to serve as an historical document on how a royal family might live during this period in England. It showcased the finest and modern goods of the period. Later the dollhouse was put on display to riase funds for the Queen’s charities. It was originally exhibited at the British Empire Exhibit in 1924. Now it is on display at Windsor Castle.
The dollhouse was made to a scale 1:12 (one inch to one foot) and is over three feet tall, contains models of products of well known products of well known companies of the time. It is remarkable for its detail and the detail of the objects within it, many of which are 1/12th replicas of items in Windsor Castle. These were either made by the companies themselves, or by specialist model makers such as Tiwining Models of Nottingham. The carpets and curtains are furnishings all copied from the real thing. Even light fittings work. There is a flushable toilet, complete with lavatory paper. In addition, well known writers such as Rudyard Kipling wrote special books which were bound to scalesize, and painters provided miniature pictures. Even bottles of wine in the wine cellar were filled with the appropriate wines and spirits, and the wheels of motor vehicles were properly spoked.
The small room where the dollhouse is on exhibition contains other items from the Royal Collection such as the current Monarch’s dolls and doll clothes from her childhood. They were all gifts to the Queen and Princess Margaret when they were small.
The DOLLHOUSE is part of the tour of Windsor Castle. It is the first EXHIBITION, before the PRINT EXHIBITION, AND THE CHINA ROOM, and the STATE ROOMS.
Really, this is a bit of history, a capsule with a palace inside–a miniature creation. IT It is just another example of Queen Mary’s desire to document royal life of her period for posterity–all for our pleasure and delight at Windsor Castle.