Dollhouse Decorating

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


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 25 February, 2016

Petronella Oortman's Dolls House

Petronella Oortman’s Dolls House

Petronella Oortman’s Dolls House

In the 17th century, dolls houses were not toys. They were very expensive hobbies. Petronella Oortman’s Dolls House is the most famous of the three dolls houses at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. This particular dolls house provides a detailed view of how affluent houses were once furnished.

What makes Petronella Oortman’s dolls house so unusual is that all the pieces were made in the same way, and using the same materials as their regular counterparts, built precisely to scale. It is decorated with original, miniature paintings and murals commissioned from successful Dutch artists. It features handcrafted wicker and upholstered furniture, sculpted ceiling reliefs, and marble flooring.

Petronella ordered her miniature porcelain from China and commissioned cabinetmakers, glassblowers, silversmiths, basket-weavers, and artists to furnish her dolls house. Her dolls house cost as much as an actual canal house in Amsterdam. She was so proud of her home that she had it portrayed in a painting.

When the dolls house was first displayed, the front door opened to a full garden complete with a working fountain. The copper pump in the cook room was functional. Unfortunately, these items and the garden have been lost.

You might also be interested in this article on the Sara Rothe cabinet dolls houses. And here’s an interesting Wikipedia article on Petronella Oortman’s Dolls House.


Susan Downing, with Patrick Owens


I invite you to visit my Etsy Shop where I offer many accessories and pieces of furniture in 1:12 scale. Subscribers to this blog receive a discount on all Featured Products. Click here for details.

Posted by Susan Downing

Categories: cabinet, Dutch, Great Dollhouses

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