A Short History of the Dollhouse

dollhouse-1311358_640Dollhouses are probably the most popular form of miniatures that people are familiar with. But did you know that dollhouses of today got their start in the 1700s?

These houses were considered “baby” houses and were popular in Europe as displays of ideal interiors and furnishings. Small doll houses offering realistic exteriors began emerging in the 1800s.

All early dollhouses were handmade making them a highly collectible and luxury item. It was not until after World War II that they began to be mass produced and made more affordable.

Originally, doll houses were not toys. They were meant to be miniature replicas designed to represent real manors or palaces. In the early days of doll houses, these objects were also used to teach girls how to become ladies of the house.

They used the settings with the dolls to gain a better understanding of how to manage a staff that would make beds, prepare meals and so forth. One of the earliest examples of this type of teaching doll house is that of the Princess of Saxony ‘s which she gave to her daughters in 1512!

Queen Mary had one of the most famous doll houses of all time. It was a miniature replica of Windsor Castle and was given to her by her loyal subjects as a birthday present shortly after World War I.

Today, doll houses are not only still mass produced as toys for children but the old miniatures are also available as collectibles for adults. Many woodworkers replicate the old style of miniature dollhouses and enjoy showing off their abilities by creating intricately built, well-furnished doll houses. They can be inexpensive or can be multi-million dollar projects. W3141_1

Barbie’s Dream House is a modern day example of a doll house that has lost all remnants of its original predecessor. Although it’s
great that Barbie has a huge walk in closet for all her fashion accessories, it doesn’t have the interior design aesthetic or appeal that original dollhouses have. There’s no way anyone would want to live in so much pink!