Queen Mary's dolls' house dining set to fetch up to £30,000 at auction

Queen Mary’s dolls’ house dining set that’s an exact replica of royal chinaware is tipped to fetch up to £30,000 at auction

  • A miniature dining set designed for Queen Mary’s doll’s house is to go on sale 
  • The 70 piece set is an exact replica of a dining set given to the Queen in 1924
  • The collection is expected to fetch £30,000 at Sotheby’s next month 
  • The 5 foot tall doll’s house was completed 1924 by finest artists and craftsmen 

A miniature dining set designed for Queen Mary’s dolls’ house could fetch £30,000 at auction.

The 5 feet tall royal dolls’ house features working electricity, flushing loos and even silver bath taps complete with running water.

The dinner set, which is one twelfth of the normal size, is an exact replica of the royal chinaware presented to the Queen in 1924. 

The 70-piece set – including serving dishes, tureens, bowls, dinner plates, side plates and platters – is expected to fetch £30,000 at Sotheby’s next month.

A miniature dining set designed for Queen Mary’s dolls’ house could fetch £30,000 at auction in London next month

H,M,Queen Mary of Great Britain with her grand-daughter H,R,H,Princess Elizabeth after the baby had been christened, 1926

The 5 foot tall doll’s house was completed 1924 by finest artists and craftsmen, and features running water and working electricity  

Designed by renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and built in 1924 for Queen Mary, wife of George V, the dolls house reveals a small slice of the royals’ high life. 

Tiny objects made for inside what has been described as the ‘most famous dolls’ house in the world’ were built by 1,500 artists and craftsmen.

The dinner set, which is one twelfth of the normal size, was made by tableware store Thomas Goode & Co, which still has royal warrants with the Queen and the Prince of Wales.

It was asked to create two miniature china dinner services, one for the dolls’ scullery and the other for the main dining room.

The collection, which features 70 miniature plates and bowls, was made by tableware store Thomas Goode & Co, which still has royal warrants with the Queen and the Prince of Wales

Thomas Goode & Co made one copy of every commissioned piece for their own archives and it is the replica of the dinner set which is going on sale 

Thomas Goode & Co made one copy of every commissioned piece for their own archives and it is the replica of the dinner set which is going on sale. 

Queen Mary’s dolls’ house 

Princess Marie Louise, Queen Vicoria’s grand-daughter, asked Lutyens, the architect of the Cenotaph, to build the doll house for Queen Mary.

She was a famous and obsessivecollector of ‘tiny craft’ and the gift would be a mark of nation’sthanks for her public loyalty during the First World War.   

Designed by renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and built in 1924 for Queen Mary, wife of George V, the dolls house reveals a small slice of the royals’ high life.  

Marie Louise and Edwin created a committee that decided on the style of the house and ensured that all its contents were of the highest possible quality and all perfectly to scale. 

In order to get contributors on board, Lutyens held regular ‘Dolleluiah Dinners’ at the Savoy. 

These events proved successful and the completed house was the product of 250 craftsmen and manufacturers, 60 artist-decorators, 700 artists, 600 writers and 500 donors 

Its tiny contents, on a scale of one inch to one foot, range from the Lux flakes by the kitchen sink to electricity, running water and even a lift.

It also includes  a library with versions of real books, a wine cellar containing actual wines and spirits in tiny bottles, a gramophone playing the national anthem and a miniature Rolls-Royce sat in the garage.

A.C. Benson wrote in The Book of the Queen’s Dolls’ House: ‘It is built to outlast us all. To carry on into the future and different world this pattern of our own. It is a serious attempt to express our age and to show forth in dwarf proportions the limbs of our present world.’

In July 1925, the dolls’ house was moved to Windsor Castle, where it was situated in a room designed by Lutyens and where it remains today.

 

It will be accompanied by a handwritten letter from Queen Mary, dating from 1924, which will be included in the sale.

‘It is with the greatest pleasure that I say ‘thank you’ to all the very kind people who have helped to make the dolls’ house the most perfect present that anyone could receive,’ the letter says.

A letter from the royal household also thanks the company for the product.

‘I am to convey to you the Queen’s grateful and sincere thanks for the beautiful miniature dinner service for the dolls’ house which has arrived safely,’ the letter states.

‘Her Majesty greatly admires the very careful and minute work which has been put into this charming little service, and I need not tell you how keenly the Queen appreciates your very kind thought, and all the trouble which has resulted in the production of this unique specimen service.’

The company is selling some of its pieces while renovating its flagship Mayfair store.

Online bidding dates takes place between December 22 and January 8 at Sotheby’s. 

The glimpse into a bygone age was inspired by Princess Marie Louise, Queen Vicoria’s grand-daughter, who asked Lutyens, the architect of the Cenotaph, to build it for Queen Mary.

She was a famous and obsessivecollector of ‘tiny craft’ and the gift would be a mark of nation’sthanks for her public loyalty during the First World War.  

Its tiny contents, on a scale of one inch to one foot, range from the Lux flakes by the kitchen sink to electricity, running water and even a lift. 

It also includes a library with versions of real books, a wine cellar containing actual wines and spirits in tiny bottles, a gramophone playing the national anthem and a miniature Rolls-Royce sat in the garage.

Meanwhile the landscaped grounds, designed by Gertrude Jekyll, a top gardener of the time, has a functioning lawnmower.

In the garage stand six ‘horseless carriages’ including a Daimler limousine and the Rolls, while the building houses 750 works of art, spanning from Victorian and pre-Raphaelite.

On the kitchen table is a tin a Coleman’s Mustard and Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce. By the sink are tiny tins of Lifebuoy and Sunlight soap. 

Twenty-five composers were asked to contribute musical scores for the house, but Sir Edward Elgar refused claiming the King and Queen were ‘incapable of appreciating anything artistic.’

It will be accompanied by a handwritten letter from Queen Mary, dating from 1924, which will be included in the sale

Princess Marie sent blank volumes to writers and poets to fill in and got back a hand-written leather-bound story from Conan Doyle called, How Watson Learned The Trick.

Kipling submitted a 4x3cm book of handwritten poems for the walnut-panelled library, some unpublished with his own illustrations. Thomas Hardy sent seven poems while Robert Graves penned five.

Other contributors included Aldous Huxley, John Buchan and Somerset Maugham, But Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw declined the royal invitation.

Meanwhile another letter from Thomas Goode & Co, dating from 1924, will also be included in the sale of the dining set 

Alfred Dunhill supplied miniature cigars and custom-made tobacco, while the jewellers Cartier built a longcase clock for the marble hallway.

And behind a gate in the strongroom lie tiny copies of the Crown Jewels, weighing 1.5lbs rather than the real thing of 1.5tons. In the wine cellar are 200 bottles of Chateau Lafitte 1875 and five dozen bottles of Veuve Clicquot. 

When Queen Mary was shown the tiny lavatory by the plumber, she got her earring stuck in his beard as they both peered down the pan. 

The dolls’ house features a library with over 600 tomes, including stories from Conan Doyle, Thomas Hardy and Robert Graves

The Doll’s house, which was built for Queen Mary – the current Queen’s grandmother – was finished in 1924 (pictured)

 

  

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