Dollhouse Decorating

Miniature Decorating Ideas |Articles on decorating dollhouses and the history of this artform

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I have had a life-long love affair with dollhouse miniatures, and careers in art education and interior design. I hope to combine these life experiences to help other miniature enthusiasts get more out of this wonderful hobby we enjoy, a hobby that often reaches the level of an art form. Susan Downing

Posted on 23 December, 2015

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Tim Sidford (Sweetington) commented about this Recency Chinese room box, “To be honest I’ve outgrown the place…..

Regency Era – Historical Context 1811 – 1820

For miniature enthusiasts, the Regency Era in the United Kingdom was brief, only nine years. King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son, the Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent. On the death of his father in 1820, the Prince Regent became George IV.

The Odd Couple

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King George IV, formerly the Prince of Wales and The Prince Regent, in his coronation robes in 1821.

The Napoleonic Wars raged on, forcing much of the European nobility to raise cash by selling precious works of art. The future King took advantage of their misfortune to enlarge the Royal Collection.

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John Nash, architect

While still the Prince Regent, he joined forces with architect John Nash. They embarked on a building program that would nearly bankrupt the country. It was a true symbiotic relationship, each attempting to out-do the other with extravagant designs, ultimately giving us the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, Windsor Castle, and Buckingham Palace.

The Prince Regent had such a fondness for pageantry, that when King, he helped develop the ceremonial side of the monarchy that is so loved today.

The building spree created vast interior spaces with high ceilings. The Prince never saw a blank wall he didn’t want to cover with something colorful. Technology to the rescue! New mechanical processes allowed for a greater use of wallpaper and fabrics.

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Not all Regency décor is “in your face.” The two-story blue hall and stairway, found on Dolls House Grand Design, is an example.

Regency Design Elements

Here are a few design elements to keep in mind when working on a Regency miniature:

Wall coverings – mass production allowed for multiple patterns, even in the same room
Fabrics – mass production also produced a greater variety of weaves and textures.
Decorations – bold use of Greek and Egyptian motifs, garlands and tassels
Wood – mahogany and rosewood
Colors – exotic and vibrant – vivid blues, greens, and reds
Furniture – sumptuous gilding used widely
Lighting – candles early on; oil later

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Entrance hall found on Les Chinoiseries Miniatures (1:12)

Chinoiserie

First appearing in the 17th century, chinoiserie was the European interpretation of Chinese artistic traditions, especially in the decorative arts. It became popular due to the rise in trade with China and East Asia. Whimsical and light in subject matter and appearance, chinoiserie provided an option to the more rigid classical styles that were prominent.

Chinoiseries was not universally admired. Some members of society saw the style as “…a retreat from reason and taste and a descent into a morally ambiguous world based on hedonism …

So, of course, the Prince Regent loved it. You will find examples of chinoiserie throughout Regency and early Georgian décor.

 

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Faith Bradford’s 23-room Regency Dollhouse found on Jane Austen In Vermont

Notable Miniatures

Do a search of Regency dollhouses and dolls houses on the Internet; you’ll get a sizable directory of hits. Here are 2 sites that may not be on the first or second screen:

Jane Austen In Vermont has the Faith Bradford’s 23-room Regency dollhouse and background on her inspiration;

Jane Austen’s World does not have a dollhouse, but there is lots of good stuff to learn about the times. (I like learning stuff). This site also has links to Thomas Hope, a leading designer of the period. If you get enthused about doing a Regency project, you’ll want to refer to his work as a reference.

So there it is. I hope this information is useful to you.

 

Susan Downing, with Patrick Owens

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Posted by Susan Downing

Categories: Regency


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