Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House in Windsor Castle is the most beautiful and popular dollhouse in the world. It was built between 1921 and 1924 for Queen Mary, the wife of King George V.
The dollhouse was created as a scale miniature royal palace and was a gift from the nation to Queen Mary. It is an ideal model of a royal house and how its residents lived during that period.
Princess Marie Louise, a cousin of King George V and childhood friend of Queen Mary, had the idea of building the dollhouse. The architect was Sir Edwin Lutyens, a friend of the Princess. Both of them created a committee to decide on the style of the dollhouse and make sure everything was of the highest possible quality and all perfectly to scale. Princess Marie Louise later said that the only thing that was not recreated in miniature was the telephone.
The House is over three feet tall and stands on a large plinth with a façade in the style of Sir Christopher Wren or Inigo Jones. The famous designer Gertrude Jekyll planned the garden and the garage contained seven model cars and a motorcycle. Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House is filled with thousands of artifacts from leading designers and craftsmen – it includes around 1,000 works of art.
Probably the most spectacular feature of the house is the library. Princess Marie Louise and her friend, the author Edward Verrall Lucas, asked artists, authors, and composers for contributions. It consists of 700 miniature books ranging from authors J.M Barries, Rudyard Kipling, W. Somerset Maugham, and Thomas Hardy to the complete works of Shakespeare, the Bible, and the Koran. The house also contains a fully stocked wine cellar with miniature bottles filled with appropriate wine and a fully equipped kitchen.
The dollhouse has electricity, bathrooms, flushing toilets, hot and cold water, and working lifts. Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House includes a lot of royal elements. For start, a pair of miniature throne chairs is placed in the Saloon.
Also, a complete set of miniature crown jewels is set in the Strong Room and on the ceiling of the King’s Bedroom, the opening bars of the National Anthem are painted in a flowery trellis.
After the house was presented to Queen Mary, she added a number of objects which belonged to her. Among them was a small model of a mouse made by Faberge and a miniature dolls’ tea service in copper. The furniture, carpets, and curtains are all copies of real ones. The dollhouse includes not only ceramics, silver, and textiles but also real items of soap, food, and a working bicycle.
Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House was publicly displayed at the British Empire Exhibition between 1924 and 1925. The house reveals the most stylish and high-quality artifacts of that time. Later it was exhibited to raise funds for the Queen’s charities. To this day, the Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House remains one of the most famous and elaborate dollhouses on Earth.