There have been various forms of dollhouses complete with furnishings, people, livestock and pets for many thousands of years. These miniature houses actually go back into the years of the Egyptians. However, they were not constructed as toys for play purposes but a part of their religious purposes. The earliest examples of dollhouses were found five thousand years ago in Egyptian tombs. Their dollhouses included replicas of their servants, pets, livestock, and household possessions.
Dollhouses dating back to the sixteenth century, began to appear in Europe. Again, they were not made as toys for children to play with. The wealthy homeowner had the houses constructed to replicate in every detail the home he was actually living in. At times it was just the outward appearance of the house but later grew to include the inside appearance. The house, often called a ‘baby house’, was a record of their life and times. Later on during the eighteenth century, models were being built into cabinets thus the ‘baby houses’ were known as ‘cabinet houses’ with glass doors that opened and closed. They were used as models for fashion and decor trends and began to include tapestries, paintings, candelabras, china sets, people, wallpaper and plethora other home furnishings. It was time consuming to make, as everything inside and out was made by hand with the best quality materials. Only the wealthy could afford such a luxury with their time and their money, as they held a price tag equivalent to a moderately sized full-size home. It is quite understandable why these houses were not play toys.
Only very slowly throughout the eighteenth century did manufactured dollhouses start to appear in Europe and later by the nineteenth century America began to manufacture their own versions of a dollhouse. By the 1950’s metal was in use for manufacturing dollhouses. The houses were now inexpensive enough for playtime with any child. In fact, the dollhouse to the pictured here is the exact one I had when I was a little girl back in the 1950’s. All the furniture was plastic and the people were plastic. Dollhouses were no longer works of art and accessible to children.
Once again, dollhouses have become well known pastime. Only now they are enjoyed by the connoisseur or playful child. People are now creating Victorian mansions complete with fully decorated exterior and interior or perhaps a Barbie playhouse for children. Either way, they are time consuming and expensive still. However, the delight in making something with one’s hands can not be matched. As in yesterday’s blog, there is so much information on the Internet to help one design their own version of house beautiful.There are books and magazines dedicated to dollhouse enthusiasts. Groups have been formed for dollhouse builders to exchange their ideas and show off their creations. Items can be bought premade or learned how to make them from scratch. It is quite an art to develop your theme in your dollhouse. What an opportunity. Just can’t pass it up.
I did buy a precut dollhouse. If you are interested, I wrote a previous blog regarding this purchase. Today, I started separating the pieces and smoothing the edges. Also, have to make sure all the tabs and holes for the tabs are open to proper size and smoothed out for easy insertion of the tab. As the pieces are small and fragile, it will take some time to complete the process.
In the meantime, I continue scouring the Internet for color schemes of Victorian house paint. They usually used three colors on their homes which created quite a interesting pallet. Also, checking out the best glues to use that will withstand the test of time. Don’t want this drying out and creaky in a couple years. Have a lot of Googling to do.
I shall periodically keep you posted on the advancements of my creation. So, stayed tuned!
“We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Set sail! Create and inspire as only you can.