|The library in Queen Mary's doll's house, with views of one of the many original |
literary works created especially for the library.
Sir Edwin Lutyens, the great British architect, said, "Let us devise and design for all time something that will enable further generations to see how a King and Queen of England lived in the twentieth century." Lutyens' goal was not to create a child's plaything, but a showcase for the finest British craftsmanship of the period.
|Top, an exterior view of the Palladian house and the dining room, above.|
According to "Queen Mary's Dolls House", by Mary Stewart-Wilson, Lutyens collaborated with 1500 of the finest artists and craftspeople to construct this five-foot-high 40 room mansion, completed in 1924 and now permanently displayed at Windsor Castle. It was originally intended as a gift in gratitude for the royal family's leadership during the First World War, but it has grown to be an expression of decorative arts practice at its highest level. Every detail of a house fit for royalty has been meticulously reproduced, from marble busts, to suits of armor, to original books in the library, to the finest whiskeys and champagne in the wine cellar.
|The marble staircase|
The artists who worked on these miniatures created specialized tools to work in the 1:12 scale, producing objects that not only looked but functioned like their full-sized counterparts. Wedgwood provided porcelain dishes, Rolls Royce provided one of the many cars in the garage. There are tiny pots of jam from Tiptree, biscuits from McVitie, original paintings and sculptures. In the library are a desk clock by Cartier, Swan fountain pens, tiny bottles of blue Stephen's ink, hand-written and illustrated autobiography by J.M. Barrie and original hand-written works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling. Every detail, almost beyond imagination, has been attended to, even the tiny books of matches and Windsor & Newton watercolor paints on the Queen's desk.
|The Queen's Suite|
Beyond its function as a gift for a beloved monarch, this incredible collection of objects is a time capsule of decorative arts in its many forms, and an expression of the incredibly high regard the public and craftspeople had for their professions. I can't wait to get back to England to spend some quality time appreciating the history, virtuosity and craftsmanship in Queen Mary's doll's house. If you'd like to see more, I've included the following Youtube link for your viewing pleasure- enjoy!
|Two views of the library|