Saturday, February 28, 2009

'Rose Cottage' Shell Box

This dolls' house is tiny - 3 1/2" (9 cm) wide, 2 3/8" (6 cm) deep, and 3 3/4" (9.5 cm) high!
This is the front:

As you can see, the name above the gable window is torn - but I think it's 'Rose Cottage'. It has quite a grand door for such a little cottage, and the back door also has six panels - but just a pediment, not a portico. And those look like double-hung sash windows, front and back:

Unfortunately, the doors don't open, only the roof:

It is, in fact, a little box - and was most probably a souvenir sold in a coastal town. But it came with three tiny dolls

- two frozen Charlotte type dolls, made wearing smocks, and one bisque doll with movable arms, who was dressed in a ribbon tied around in a bow which has, sadly, almost completely disintegrated.
So I think this little box was used as a dolls' house by a little girl a long time ago. Perhaps her family didn't have room for a larger house, or couldn't afford one. I bought the house and dolls from an ebay seller in Brisbane - I don't know whether she acquired it locally. I'm sure souvenirs like this were made and sold widely - Vivien Greene showed two on a page of 'Model Houses' in her book The Vivien Greene Dolls' House Collection.
I think it could well have been made close to where it was bought - perhaps someone who knows shells well could say what region it's likely to be from.
The roof shows scraps of printed paper - perhaps a papier maché base to make the roof stronger for all the shells?

The roof (shown open above) is hinged with more printed paper under a strip of fabric, and the shells are pressed into a base of ?plaster? ?putty?:

You can see the indentation in the base, where a shell was pressed into it.
I remember as a kid making a shell-covered tin following instructions in a 'things to do' book - I can remember the smell of the putty!

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