An Exploration of Doll Houses

Day to Day

Join us as we explore doll houses and their fascinating history...

Join us as we explore doll houses and their fascinating history. They date back several centuries – as early as the 16 century. During this time in Europe they were created to display the finest craftsmanship and wealth. Doll houses were status symbols of affluence but as time has gone by, they have become more accessible to children for play. In the 19th century they reached the peak of their popularity and designs became elaborate in architecture with intricate furnishings and amazing attention to detail. Many of these still exist today and are on display in museums and private collections.

The largest and most famous doll’s house was Queen Mary’s. Built in the 1920s, it is kept at Windsor Castle.

It contains a library which was created by Princess Marie Louise and author EV Lucas. It contains nearly 600 miniature books. 176 are handwritten and the collection even includes a copy of Sherlock Holmes!

It has been converted into a drinks cabinet, complete with a gramophone record player. Open it up and enjoy a delicious drink with a vinyl of your choice!

At Ham Yard Hotel in the Terrace Suite, we have included a doll’s house which adds some playfulness to this sophisticated room.

Recently, we have spotted some rather wonderful doll’s houses made and painted by our friend Amy Balfour. The detail within her work is exquisite.

We could stare at these miniature jewel-like homes all day! Another doll’s house artist that we are incredibly inspired by is Lucy Clayton.

This tiny kitchen Lucy has created is even complete with real terracotta tiles!

Heritage of London Trust (HOLT), brings beautiful historic sites, research, poetry and creative perspectives together over the year and this November, we’ll be hosting another creative celebration. This time, at Ham Yard Hotel with Poet for Places.

Poet for Places is a young poet-in-residence programme allowing audiences to explore secret places in London through new and exciting poetry and spoken word. Poems and live readings will be followed by a Q&A about finding inspiration and reflecting on connections with where we live. The readings will be followed by drinks in our Ham Yard Hotel Drawing Room. We hope you can join us on 13th November. Find out more here.

We hope this blog post inspires you to get creative and make your own doll houses at home, or even just inspiration to redecorate your house as intricately as these masterpieces!

For the Butler’s Pantry, Lucy has painted the panelling in Farrow & Ball Calke Green and she has painted the walls in Little Greene Travertine. The table boasts India Yellow by Farrow & Ball while placed on the surface are menus, keys and a red telephone for calling the Butler! There’s even real candles and brass cutlery. Aren’t they fantastic? We could move in tomorrow!

Last year we welcomed model maker Isabella Gilding to The Soho Hotel for an event with Heritage of London Trust (HOLT). Isabella was commissioned to create one of HOLT’s magnificent projects in miniature. She chose Croydon’s Stanley Halls, a highly detailed and beautiful work of architecture with an unusual history.