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The Miniature Doll House Fascination

The Miniature Doll House Fascination

Author: Jayne Cremasco

Over the years I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know many miniature enthusiasts. What fascinates them about seeing familiar objects in a tiny, realistic form?


Much more than a child’s plaything, building doll houses, and ultimately decorating and furnishing them in a theme of your choice, has become an adult hobby. The only way to improve on that, is to have a daughter or grand-daughter who can share that interest and passion with you.

Personally, my miniature interest lies in antique miniatures and dolls, more so than in modern works. The strange thing about that is the fact that antique pieces were seldom created with a true eye to scale, and scale is of utmost importance to me when viewing modern miniatures.

Seen On eBay: antique French dollhouse table with original French furnitures, accessories and wallpapers from ca. 1880 / Paris and marked with original sticker "Nadaud Jouets - près la Place de l?Opéra - 32, Rue du 4 Septembre"

The craftsmanship involved in creating tiny little porcelain dolls, with jointed limbs, often hand blown inset glass eyes, real mohair wigs is amazing. Add to that the primitive conditions within the factories that many of these dolls were created in, adds to my amazement. Many of these tiny dolls have lasted in excess of 100 years , they have been handled, and played with, loved and often abandoned, only to turn up years later in an attic somewhere.

The furnishings of this same era were often handmade, often primitive, and much did not stand the test of time as well as the little dolls did. To find, own and enjoy these pieces today is a delight.

Detail from the antique French dollhouse table

Manufactured doll house furnishings of this era, were often made in Germany as were the little dolls. I had a dear friend of German origin bring her childhood collection over to me to help her sell. She is in excess of 90 years old, a delightful lady who still teaches piano, runs her own household, and dresses her dolls. She had a story to tell about every piece of furniture, and remembers hours spent with her sister in creating the tiny little bed linens, doll clothes and lampshades. I like to think there are similar stories about every antique piece that comes my way.

Also of importance to me is for miniatures to be made of the material they are in real life.
If a bed is representing one made of wood, I cannot tolerate it in plastic. (sorry Chrysenbon) If bathroom fixtures are representing porcelain pieces, then do not make them in wood! Realism is very important in my own collections.

Some enthusiasts enjoy making all of their own furnishings and accessories, even their own dolls. This exacting craft can only be admired by those of us less talented, but certainly makes their fascination obvious.

Some crafters make such exquisite pieces that the prices can command as much as their full size counterparts. There are miniature artists, who paint on tiny canvases each work of art is a one of a kind painting. Other artists paint on tiny plates, even buttons as canvases.

There are miniature artists who do miniature needlepoint, knitting, rug making and pottery as well as wood workers.

One thing I have found is once someone embraces this hobby, it is usually a life long obsession.


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