A fantastic monument of miniaturization, which depicts in detail every aspect of
daily life of British royalty and labor class in the beginning of 20th century is
the famous Queen Mary's Dolls Hous. Several artists and artisans colaborated to make
it come true. EVERYTHING in it reflects reality accurately, in scale: the taps would
run water, the elevator actually works when one pushes the buttons, the books can
be read... and so on! Funny though, the only dolls in this DOLLS house are the King
and the Queen, as other dolls all around could fall down and eventually break so
precious and unique objects...
Another major milestone in dollhouses are the famous Thorne Rooms. This impressive
series of roomboxes encompasses European interiors from the late 13th century to
the 1930s and American furnishings from the 17th century to the 1930s. They were
made by different artisans, under commission by Mrs. Thorne, between 1932 and 1940:
the perfection of each and every detail is extremely realistic and breathtaking.
Its permanent home is the Art Institute, in Chicago, but sometimes there is a traveling
exhibits around the country.
On the left you can see some of the rooms. See all 68 of them at the Museum website
Nowadays, miniature enthusiasts can have a blast going to shows all around the globe
all year round, or even shopping online. More on miniature shows at Calendar.
Miniatures industry (factories, artisans, stores, suppliers, shows, workshops, associations,
etc) is not here to play... Though it also goes through ups and downs, dancing to
the economy tunes, by 1988 it already dealt with over US$ 55 million dollars a year!!!
(Visit some of the stores and websites from the links provided)
While in Brazil this hobby is still incipient and better accepted commercially when
scenes have a more 'obvious' 'utility' like key hangers or party souvenirs, in English
speaking countries and in Europe it's a whole other story. There are class organizations,
groups, workshops, awards, titles, shows, etc. Not to mention stores of all sizes,
both brick-and-mortar and online. We're still making baby steps in Brazil when it
comes to commerce of miniatures. (read more in Organizations, Museums, Blogs & Photo
In the US, Europe, South Africa and Australia dollhouses are an old and 'infectious'
Unlike Brazil, where contemporary scenes are most popular among miniaturists, in
those countries there are way more settings in past times than modern ones. This
is a great thing as, besides being an extremely therapeutic hobby :) which also encourages
the development of different crafting skills, miniaturists ends up learning a lot
about the history of their own country and of the word. The hip thing while making
historical rooms is to make them as accurate as possible. They are like History classes,
but in 3D and in small scale! No wonder museums are among the main clients of talented
artisans, who are commissioned to make accurate reproductions of specific historical
events (and places) in settings called dioramas.
On the right you can find a table that might help you find the period of time each
era usually refers to. In England, unlike Brazil, each era is known by its ruler,
not by the dates, which might be confusing for those unfamiliar with British history.
The ones in italics are the most popular ones by far.