A property boom on an exquisitely smallscale has sparked a magical new event. The City of London Dollshouse Festivalis an extension of the hugely popular show that has attracted internationalcollectors to Kensington Town Hall since 1985. More than 100 renowned exhibitors will display and sell theirbeautifully crafted miniature houses and furniture at the Tower Hotel on Sunday January 27, in addition to the original, twice-yearly event.
Collectors are in for a treat, given theextremely high quality of the intricate designs, such as the elegant chinoiserie bedroom in the second picture. Also take for example the work of former jewellery designer JensTorp, who specialises in making 1/12-scalesilver miniatures, such as a French horn (£680), replica 19th-century field gun bottle holder (£420), Tiffany water pitcher (£125) and limited-edition herb and oil storage box (£1,475).
Working clocks and furniture on a scaleof 1/12 or 1/48 are the speciality of Keith Bougourd of Small Time.His French Boulle commodes have 1mm-deep pearwood and plywood carcasses with appliedbrasswork and faux tortoiseshell cross-banded with an ebonised veneer.Inspired by an original Louis XIV commode, they cost £950 each (£1,600 for a pair). The pleasure of sliding open each miniscule drawer, however, is hard to put aprice on.
Tim Hartnall of Anglia Dolls Houses can help with a home for these wonderful pieces. His unfurnished butfully decorated 1/12-scale houses are hand built in birch plywood inGeorgian and Regency styles. These architecturally magnificent houses have openingside-panels through which the interiors can be seen. In addition tostandard models (from £2,000 to £10,000), including the bestselling LincolnHouse (interior in first picture, from £5,490), Hartnall accepts bespoke commissions.
Connoisseurs should also make time forthe highly detailed models of historic buildings made by Lucy Askew. Havingspecialised in model making for 25 years, Askew’s 1/12-scale miniaturesare prized for their recreation of colour, texture, fabric and furniture, suchas the gilt picture frames and looking glasses, fireplaces with fire irons andRobert Adam furniture from the Glass Drawing Room, Northumberland House. Askew also crafts bespoke “box rooms” (£5,000 to £20,000), whose wooden doors open to reveal a single,glamorously furnished room.
Rumer Godden’s Tottie, Birdie and Mr Plantagenet – even haughty Marchpane – would be delighted.