Saturday, 20 April 2024

Regal Revamp: Queen Enhances Dolls House Library with Contemporary Authors for Centenary Celebration

Regal Revamp: Queen Enhances Dolls House Library with Contemporary Authors for Centenary Celebration
Tuesday, 30 January 2024 14:20

As Queen Mary's Dolls' House Marks Centenary, Modern Authors Grace Its Library in a Royal Refresh

Crafted in the 1920s, Queen Mary's dolls' house, the world's largest of its kind, has undergone a literary makeover in celebration of its centenary. The miniature library, once adorned with works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Thomas Hardy, now boasts tiny manuscripts from contemporary writers like Alan Bennett, Julia Donaldson, and Anthony Horowitz. Queen Elizabeth II, an avid reader and literary patron, will host a reception at Windsor Castle, honoring the authors, illustrators, and binders responsible for this updated collection. Notable contributors include Elif Shafak, Malorie Blackman, and the Queen's son, Tom Parker Bowles. Her Majesty herself has penned an introduction, praising the "incredible richness of 21st-century literary talent" and expressing delight in the dolls' house's enduring charm. The miniature library, curated by Princess Marie Louise and author EV Lucas in the 1920s, continues to captivate with its perfect proportions and attention to detail. Queen Elizabeth II commends the addition of modern literature, recognizing its power to bring joy, comfort, laughter, companionship, and hope to readers, acknowledging the collaborative effort that created a new set of tiny library books destined to outlast generations.

As Queen Mary's Dolls' House Celebrates Its Centenary, Her Majesty Explores New Miniature Literary Treasures

In honor of the 100th anniversary of Queen Mary's dolls' house, Queen Elizabeth II is set to embark on a short tour, marveling at the meticulously crafted miniature residence. The highlight of the visit includes an exhibition featuring 20 works contributed by renowned writers and illustrators, each presenting their own miniature manuscripts. Alan Bennett's "The Mantelpiece," Sebastian Faulks' "Music for a Dolls’ House," and Tom Stoppard's "Kolya’s Glove" are among the literary gems, spanning short stories, poetry collections, plays, articles, and recipes, many inspired by or created expressly for the dolls' house project.

In a handwritten foreword to "The Miniature Library of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House" by Elizabeth Clark Ashby, Queen Elizabeth II emphasizes the dolls' house as a showcase of British and Irish craft excellence. Describing it as a trove of unexpected, thought-provoking, and witty gems, she highlights its unique features, such as a pot of real cold cream, a Fabergé mouse, and a functional trouser press. The dolls' house, a collaborative effort involving over 1,500 artists, craftspeople, and manufacturers from the early 20th century, boasts beautifully furnished rooms, including bedroom suites, a day nursery, and a grand saloon with red velvet and silver thrones.

To enhance the centenary celebration, Windsor Castle will display tiny treasures from the dolls' house, such as a fully strung grand piano, a sewing machine complete with minuscule thread and scissors, and even a miniature Hoover vacuum cleaner—a novelty from the 1920s. The house itself has been artfully re-lit to simulate daylight, and ornate corner niches are filled with miniature plants and flowers, restoring the splendor of this iconic creation. Queen Elizabeth II's visit and the renewed showcase pay homage to the enduring legacy of Queen Mary's dolls' house, a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of a bygone era.

In conclusion, the centenary celebration of Queen Mary's dolls' house unfolds as a testament to the enduring legacy of craftsmanship and creativity. Queen Elizabeth II's exploration of the newly refreshed miniature library, featuring contributions from contemporary literary figures, adds a modern touch to this timeless creation. The exhibition of tiny treasures and the detailed restoration of the dolls' house's intricate features at Windsor Castle provide a captivating glimpse into the past, showcasing the meticulous work of over 1,500 artisans from the early 20th century. As the dolls' house continues to enchant visitors with its unexpected and whimsical details, its 100th anniversary celebration becomes a moment of reflection on the artistry, innovation, and enduring charm encapsulated within this iconic miniature masterpiece.


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