Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Battlement House has arrived - now, where do I put it?

Today my newest dolls house arrived. It is huge - 3 feet wide and 3 1/2 feet tall! Each room is 17 1/2 inches wide, 17 1/2 inches tall, and 15 1/2 inches deep. So really this is 1/6th scale. I thought about where to put it before I bid on it, but now I am not sure.
It's an interesting mixture of styles, from the battlement on the roof, to the very ornate fireplaces in the two rooms on the right. This is the upper room, perhaps a living room or bedroom?

This is the lower right room, where the fireplace decoration includes sphynxes, mermaids and cupids, along with weeping women. Possibly either a dining room or living room?

I have never seen anything like these fireplaces, particularly this one - if anyone recognises them, or knows more about them, I would love to know! They are really the reason I bought this house.

The other two rooms, on the left, are very plain - the upper room has only a lampshade:

while the kitchen has a shelf running along the back wall:

I am not sure when this house was made. I suspect that the electric lights and wiring were added at some point - it is early, but the wiring seems clumsy. The style of the house and fireplaces suggests to me the very early 20th century, or possibly late 19th century (ca 1890-1915?). I did some research in digitised Australian newspapers, and found a story, printed in the Melbourne paper The Argus in 1924, about a man who in 1914:
"made a 2-story doll's house, 5ft. 4in. in height, lit by electricity, with "all modern conveniences," and set in a miniature landscape garden."
10 years later the original owner presented this dolls house to the children's ward of a hospital, hence the story in the paper.

So it is possible that my crenellated dolls house was made around this time, complete with electricity. I will try to discover when the light switches were made, which may also provide some clues.

It seems that large scale dolls houses were quite common at this period. Here is a photograph of another large dolls house, where the inhabitants can be seen sitting on the verandah:

They are a baby doll, a kewpie, and two teddy bears. Houses such as these clearly provided a home for the dolls (and bears) which little girls played with. I think my Leadlight House is probably also in this scale; like the house in this photograph, the woodwork is fairly rough, but it has very decorative features to delight a little girl.

I don't yet know who will live in my house, or how I will furnish and decorate it. I don't have a lot of furniture in this scale, so I'll see what looks good, and think about who might live in a house with battlements, sphynxes, mermaids and cupids!

Friday, September 11, 2009


I have just spent a lot of money on another dolls' house this week (which will arrive next week, I hope). So I could not bid on this, which was also on Australian ebay this week:

This is not actually a dolls' house as such, but a construction set called Bilda-Brix, by Playmate, which came with directions for some great modern designs, and all the bricks and windows and roofs etc:

I've seen other Bilda-Brix sets for more traditional designs, as well, but this one is definitely worth looking out for.

And because I've spent so much on the new house, I can't even think about asking whether I can bid on this art deco apartment building on UK ebay. Is this the exact same house which The Shopping Sherpa bid on last September? Or is there more than one? If it's not the actual house, but a duplicate, it suggests that it may have been made commercially (or possibly from a plan, although it looks identical to me, which houses built from plans rarely are).

Whether individually or commercially made, it's a terrific design, and will no doubt reach a high price again.

(This photo is from The Shopping Sherpa's blog post, as I can't work out how to save the images on the current ebay listing, in the new format. Luckily I was able to save the Bilda-Brix photos. If anyone can explain why this is so, or how to save photos from the new auction format, I'd be delighted to know.)