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 17 March, 2016


Spencer House Painted Room – Kathleen Savage Browning collection at the Kentucky Gateway Museum.

The Spencer House Dolls House

The Spencer House dollhouse is the result of the same three elements that have brought about many of the miniature world’s great works. First, there must be a patron, someone willing to acquire funds and inspire artisans to achieve great things. Second, those artisans must be the best in their field. Last, it doesn’t hurt to have an important building as the inspiration, one that has a long history, yet is relevant to the times. Spenser House dollhouse has all three of these elements.


Kathleen Browning and the Spencer House

 The Patron

Kathleen Savage Browning fits the mold of thee miniature collectors in the golden age of dollhouses. Over a period of forty years, she has acquired 2500 miniatures – dollhouses, room boxes, vignettes – most in 1/12th scale. The KSB Miniatures Collection is the center piece of the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center in Mayville.


Kevin Mulvany and Susie Rogers and the Spencer House Dollhouse

The Artisans

Kevin Mulvany and Susan Rogers were commissioned by Ms. Browning to design and build the dollhouse. They are trained art historians and use this background to ensure that the recreations of famous buildings and homes are historically correct. Besides the Spencer House they have also created such miniature masterpieces as Hampton Court, the Palace at Versailles, Brighton Pavilion and many more.


Engraving of Spencer House circa 1880, found on the Cultural Concept Circle website

The Inspiration

Spencer House is the ancestral home of Lady Diana, Princess of Wales. Earl John Spencer had the London town home built in the mid-1700s for his wife, Georgina, as a tribute to their love and happy marriage. It is located across St. Jame’s Park from Buckingham Palace.

Eclectic Design

The dollhouse is 1:12th scale, stands 7 feet tall and 5 feet wide. It was built as a showcase of classical design. The first floor reflects Roman styling, the middle floor Greek, and the top level is an Italian style. It has reproductions of friezes, sculptures, carved wood decorations and paintwork.


The Great Hall coffered ceiling – Spencer House

The Interiors

A Daily Mail article gives a good description:

“Interior furnishings include four miniature silk carpets, each costing £3,000; seven crystal and three gilt chandeliers, each costing £1,000; and a £5,000 copy of Louis XV’s roll-top marquetry desk.

“The candles and chandeliers in each room light up and the 22 carat gold leaf on the picture frames sparkles in the light, making the house look magical.

“On the library table is a tiny half-drunk glass of port and on the dining room table are perfect miniature teaspoons, beautifully crafted in silver and hand blown glasses, a few millimeters high.

“The desk has tiny papers on it as though someone has just finished writing and the desk’s drawers move. There are also tiny roses on one of the window sills.”

On Exhibit

The Spencer House dolls house was first on public view at an exhibition sponsored by the Bath Preservation Trust. It was shown next at the Kensington Dolls House Festival in London, before being shipped to the United States.


Spencer House Great Hall – Kathleen Savage Browning Collection

It is now the centerpiece the Kathleen Savage Browning Miniatures Collection and is on permanent display at the Kentucky Gateway Museum in Maysville.

This excellent video features Kathleen Browning, Kevin Mulvany, Susan Rogers and the beautiful photography of Spencer House 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: Great Dollhouses

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One Response to “The Spencer House Dolls house”

  1. Very impressive blog.

    Interesting article right on the subject.

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