Christina here and today I’m going to revisit a subject I think we’ve talked about before – miniatures.
I don’t know what it is about tiny things, but they are immensely appealing. Just because they are small, they are much cuter than anything on a larger scale. It’s as if we equate cuteness with size and the smaller something is, the better. There’s an article here explaining the science behind this obsession with miniatures. Basically, it seems to be connected to our instinct to look after anything small and helpless, like a baby. Or maybe we are just nostalgic for our childhood?
A couple of weeks ago I went to a doll’s house fair and I was awestruck by the amazing objects for sale. It’s incredible how tiny replicas of everyday items can be produced, and the care and attention to detail some makers put into crafting them is unbelievable!
I have had a doll’s house since I was a little girl. I first had one of my own, a standard Lundby one (like the one in this photo) which was the only type on sale at the time. These days, you can get much more variety and if you go to specialist fairs like the one I attended, you can basically have any kind of house you want. There were Regency mansions, miniature castles, Tudor cottages, witches’ huts and shops of every variety. I’m sure that with an unlimited budget, you could even have a replica of your own house built. Personally, being a historical romance fan, I would love one of the huge Regency houses complete with attic rooms for the servants and kitchens/scullery downstairs in the basement. Not to mention a conservatory and/or orangery attached to the side. This is just a dream though and I won’t be buying one unless I win the Lottery.
My Lundby doll’s house disappeared at some point, probably taken over by one of my cousins. However, when my grandmother’s attic was cleared, I ended up with something much better – a doll’s house built specially for my mother when she was four (in 1937). As it was home-made, it’s a very crude construction without any of the finesse or finer details of the houses I saw at the fair. But because it was my mother’s, I treasure it and as soon as I inherited it, I went on a redecoration spree. I painted the outside a heavenly blue with white window frames, and I wallpapered the inside with Laura Ashley wallpaper to make it appear a little old-fashioned. That was quite a few years ago now and it could probably do with an update, but I’ll leave that for the next owner (one of my daughters).
Some of the original furniture remained as my mother had been a very careful child, although some had disappeared or been damaged by others rooting around in the box at various points in time. I loved the old pieces and over the years I have added to them with finds from all sorts of places. There was a fantastic shop in Maine (can’t remember if it was in Kennebunkport or Newburyport) where I found some amazing things, and another one in the middle of Stockholm that I visit whenever I’m there. Really, wherever you go, you’re bound to come across miniature things and my collection keeps growing to the point where I’m going to have to have a cull soon.
That didn’t stop me from buying a few things at the fair though and I’d like to highlight some of the things I saw and/or bought. Have a look at these and tell me you could have resisted:-
For those of you who remember the children’s programme The Magic Roundabout, look at this tiny Dougal! He’s just adorable and so well made.
All these items were made with precision and love, and here are some of the things I did manage to resist buying (although there’s always next time … ):-
The Japanese are particularly good at producing things in miniature and a lot of items are for a specific purpose – to go with their Hina doll sets. Hina dolls are for the festival of Hinamatsuri – or Girls’ Day – which is on 3rd March each year. It is a festival which is celebrated by displaying a set of dolls that represent a Heian period wedding, but are usually taken to be the Emperor and Empress and their court, all dressed as befitted the time. Most girls have a set of these, although not all are elaborate, and the displays can include all sorts of things like furniture, food and accessories. I became fascinated by these when I lived in Japan and had the huge honour of being shown a magnificent set owned by our neighbours who were descendants of the Tokugawa Shoguns. When I got the chance, I bought some for myself (see photo). Although my set is incomplete, I still love it and every time I visit Japan I buy additional items. How could I not when they are so exquisite?
I don’t think I’ll ever stop being entranced by tiny things and at least they have the added bonus of not taking up much space!
If you could have anything in miniature, what would it be?