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 11 March, 2016

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The Tasha Tudor Dollhouse study, found on “Mrs. Rabe’s trip to Williamsburg”

Tasha Tudor’s Dollhouse

The dollhouse you see on exhibit at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum at Williamsburg is not the real one. The original was more like room boxes built in to the walls of her home in Marlboro, Vermont.  Tudor’s “dollhouse” in Corgi Cottage, came to the attention of curators at Colonial Williamsburg in 1996. They offered to build a ¼ scale replica, complete with miniature goat barn and greenhouse.

The reconstituted Tasha Tudor’s Dollhouse offers astonishing works of miniaturist art. There are musical instruments and Shaker. Boxes to tiny printed books and cakes and cookies that look good enough to eat. See all the antique pieces of museum-quality furniture and and a gilded birdcage. There is even a working stove. At Christmas, two of Tudor’s handmade dolls, Captain Thaddeus Crane and his wife, Emma Birdwhistle, guide visitors on a tour that culminates in a joyous Christmas celebration in candlelit rooms with a decorated tree.

What’s In A Name?

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The kitchen has pieces that are exact replicas of items in Tasha Tudor’s  real kitchen at Corgi Cottage in Vermont.

Tasha Tudor wasn’t her original name, either. She was born in Starling Burgess, the daughter of naval architect W. Starling Burgess and noted portrait painter, Rosamund Tudor. Her given name was soon changed to Natasha, one of her father favorite characters in Tolstoy’s War And Peace. It was later shortened to Tasha. Ms. Tudor liked the sound of it and had her name legally changed.

Tudor frequently said that she was the reincarnation of a sea captain’s wife who lived from 1800 to 1840. Or maybe it was 1842. That was the earlier life she was replicating by living so ardently in the past.

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Tasha Tudor with one of her many Corgis, featured in the New York Times Review of Books on June 20, 2008.

 

Homespun Wisdom

She wore kerchiefs, hand-knitted sweaters, fitted bodices and flowing skirts, and often went barefoot. She raised 4 children in rural New Hampshire, cooked on a wood stove and lived without running water or electricity until her youngest daughter was five years old. Tudor raised her own farm animals; turned home-grown flax into clothing; and gardened by homespun wisdom: sow root crops on a waning moon, above-ground plants on a waxing one.

“It is healthful to sleep in a feather bed with your nose pointing north,” she once told an interviewer.

A cottage industry grew out of Tudor’s art. The family sells greeting cards, prints, plates, aprons, dolls, quilts and more. It’s all in a sentimental, rustic, but still refined style resembling that of Beatrix Potter.

Body Of Work

By the time she died in June 2008, at the age of 92, Tudor had illustrated close to 100 books. They include such children’s classics as The Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, and The Night Before Christmas.

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In the curio cabinet in the hallway are several Austrian bronze figurines, some of which portray Beatrix Potter characters.

Tudor had also cut her own path through children’s literature with original books like Corgiville Fair. She left behind a few cookbooks whose illustrations satisfy families hungry for a way of life as well as birthday-cake alternatives, like “Pink Pudding” The recipe is in the New England Butt’ry Shelf Cookbook.

One book reviewer wrote, “For those raised on Tasha’s lovely, lyrical images of bygone times, her illustrations can be more instantly relaxing than a cup of chamomile tea.”

 

Susan

Posted by Susan Downing


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