Palladio Minimus: A Georgian dollhouse and the 18th century miniature world

1 Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, ed. Robert A. Greenberg, 2nd ed. (W. W. Norton, New York, 1970), p. 84.
2 The word baby was synonymous with doll from the mid-sixteenth century at least into the eighteenth. For a more detailed discussion of the term baby house, see Flora Gill Jacobs, A History of Dolls’ Houses (Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1965), pp. 6–7.
3 Vivien Greene and Margaret Towner, The Vivien Greene Dolls’ House Collection (Cassell, London, 1995), pp. 33–34.
4 The conservation of the dollhouse was carried out by David C. Goist of Raleigh, North Carolina, and all information about it is contained in his “Summary Condition Report” and “Record of Treatment,” object file 4498, Old Salem Toy Museum, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
5 Greene and Towner, Vivien Greene Dolls’ House Collection, p. 33.
6 England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes, General Register Office, London, online at http://www
7 Fewer than a dozen architecturally comparable dollhouses survive. Greene gave names to those in her museum near Oxford (now closed, and its collections dispersed) as well as to those she recorded. For clarity and consistency, in this article I have retained the names given by Greene and other early researchers. In addition to the houses at Uppark and Nostell Priory, other architecturally comparable dollhouses include: Quantock Oak (1730–1740), the Great House (c. 1750), Cane End House (c. 1760), and the Mid-Georgian Baby House, also called the Balustraded House (c. 1775), all formerly in the Greene Collection (Greene and Towner, Vivien Greene Dolls’ House Collection, pp. 31–32, 36–39, 42–47, 60–63; and Vivien Greene, English Dolls’ Houses of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries [B. T. Batsford, London, 1955], pp.123–124, 133–135); the Blackett Baby House (c. 1740), in the Museum of London, and the Tate Baby House (c. 1760) in the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood (see Greene, English Dolls’ Houses, pp. 108, 117–118, and 122–123).
8 Mark Girouard, Life in the English Country House: A Social and Architectural History (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1978), p. 189.
9 For more about the Uppark dollhouse, see Christopher Rowell and John Martin Robinson, Uppark Restored (National Trust, London, 1996), p. 135.
10 For a good overview of the dating of this dollhouse and the evidence for the involvement of Thomas Chippendale in its construction, see Gervase Jackson-Stops, The Treasure Houses of Britain (National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985), pp. 660–663.
11 Goist, “Record of Treatment.”
12 Two small holes in the center of the overmantel in the upper-left room suggest that a painting originally hung there as well.
13 Goist, “Record of Treatment.”
14 Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler, ed. Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker (Leipzig, 1878), s.v. “Schuster, Johann Martin.” For the role of Nuremberg in miniature production, see Jacobs, History of Dolls’ Houses, pp. 27–39.
15 Trade card of Bellamy, October 14, 1762, microfilm reel 23, Heal Collection, Department of Prints and Drawings, British Museum, London.
16 Victor Houart, Miniature Silver Toys, trans. David Smith (Alpine Fine Arts Collection, New York, 1981), pp. 47–48, 54–59.
17 Ibid., pp. 163–164.
18 Ibid., p. 60.
19 Ibid., pp. 171–173.
20 For an image of the kitchen of the Nostell Priory dollhouse, see Jackson-Stops, Treasure Houses of Britain, p. 663. A Clayton chocolate pot with stirrer in the Victoria and Albert Museum is illustrated in Houart, Miniature Silver Toys, illus. 211.
21 Children’s ceramics are the subject of a forthcoming book by independent scholar Rick Pardue as the second book in the Old Salem Toy Museum Series. I am indebted to Pardue for his insights on this subject.
22 Simon Spero, The Simpson Collection of Eighteenth Century English Blue and White Miniature Porcelain (Simon Spero, London, 2003), pp. 25, 37–40.
23 Enos Hitchcock, Memoirs of the Bloomsgrove Family (Boston, 1790), p. 114.
24 Jacobs, History of Dolls’ Houses, p. 28.
25 Hugh Smith, Letters to Married Women, 2nd ed. (London, 1768), p. 48.
26 [Lady Ellenor Fenn], Cobwebs to Catch Flies (London, 1783), pp. 92–94.
27 H. G. Wells, Tono-Bungay (Duffield and Company, New York, 1908), pp. 33–34.
28 Maria and Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Practical Education, 2nd ed. (London, 1801), vol. 1, p. 5.

DANIEL KURT ACKERMANN is the associate curator of the MESDA and Old Salem Toy Museum Collections at Old Salem Museums and Gardens in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi

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