Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 recently contained an interesting feature on the role of dolls’ houses in history.
Author and collector Liza Antrim talked about dolls’ houses as unique historical artefacts and how they are, in her own words, ‘a snapshot of life in miniature’.
Showing the Woman’s Hour reporter round her collection, which she keeps in her garden shed, Liza pointed out that many historic dolls’ houses contain furniture and miniatures which are contemporary with the period in which the house was made.
One house dating from the 1850s even contained items of furniture which were made by children who attended a so-called ‘ragged school’.
These were charitable institutions designed to help destitute children learn skills for employment in the Victorian age.
You can listen to Liza talking about her discoveries by clicking on the above link at around the 27 minute mark or you might be interested in tracking down her book, ‘Family Dolls’ Houses of the 18th and 19th Centuries’.
We've ben promising you more videos and although it's taken a while, we've got another corker for you. This time we're taking a tour of Malibu Beach House and our customer is very happy to be able to get right inside this fantastic dolls' house. Have a look after the break to see what you think about the 1930s Art Deco miniature masterpiece.
Hard Rock Cafe by Gabriella Dall’Acqua – Verona, Italy
13 July 2011
Every now and then something very special comes along. Gabriella Dall'Acqua's interpretation of the Hard Rock Cafe is just such a thing. Using the Malibu Beach House kit, Gabriella has created a magnificent miniature tribute.
I wanted to create a miniature based on one the most legendary American restaurants/bars, the Hard Rock Cafè, a worldwide chain famous not only for the quality of its food, but also for the huge collections of rarities, previously owned by the greatest musicians, on display.
So far, there are 140 Hard Rock Cafes all over the world. The first one was founded in London in 1971. My aim was to reproduce as best as possible one of these locations. Inside you can find several objects owned by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Freddy Mercury, Madonna, Elton John and other rock stars.
The main structure I used is the Malibu Beach House, bought at The Dolls House Emporium. Of course, I had to modify some walls, to move the stairs and to cut the floor of the first stage in order to be able to insert the light blue Cadillac, symbol of each Hard Rock Cafè.
The building is divided into 4 floors. Most of the external openings are made as sliding doors and they can be removed for a better view of the interiors. Most floors are made of hundreds of single strips of wood and were fixed with infinite patience. The whole lighting circuit is working.
Ground floor: at the entrance you can see on two cubes a couple of famous rock stars’ guitars, the daily menu on an easel, some pictures of successful singers and a nice juke-box with working lights. On the left hand side there is the bar: the desk was made cutting half a real guitar. The barman is serving drinks to a couple of clients sitting on some stools. Over them is hanging a light blue Cadillac, symbol of each Hard Rock Cafè. In the corner there are some other tables and benches with other customers having a snack. On the right hand side there is the restaurant, crowded with young people having dinner. All tables are covered with typical white-red tablecloths and are full of dishes and drinks. All foods are handmade by me in Cernit. Behind the tables there is a piece of furniture full of supplies ready to be used to prepare the tables.
First floor. On the right hand side there is another restaurant area. Right in the middle of the building there is a marvellous red Harley Davidson. On the left, there is a balcony, from where you can have a look at the hanging Cadillac. On the wall you can see several pictures, some “gold records”, guitars and a video wall.
Upstairs, on the Second floor, you arrive in a small lounge area, where a young couple are sitting on a dark sofa. In the middle there is a special room with a little table and two wardrobes containing some dresses owned by famous artists, including the famous Madonna’s corset (made by me). In the central room you can see a big xylophone, while on the left some instruments such as guitars, a drum and a piano are on display.
The Top floor is equipped with the bright and efficient kitchen, where the chef is preparing the numerous ordered dishes. The kitchen is full of accessories and the floor is made of real terracotta tiles. Outside on the roof terrace, there is the bathroom with real ceramic walls, real ceramic sanitary fittings and with some Elvis pictures hanging on the walls. The external walls of the bathroom are full of autographs of famous rock stars and their fans.
Malibu Beach dolls’ house helps to raise money for charity
24 May 2011
On Saturday 14th May 2011, Anthony Nolan held its seventh annual Daisy Ball at Grosvenor House, Park Lane in London to help raise both money and awareness for the charity and its work with leukaemia patients.
The centrepiece of the evening was an amazing auction with fantastic prizes, one of which was our very own Malibu Beach House. Our congratulations to whoever put in the highest bid on the dolls’ house and we hope they will give it a good home!
Overall the Daisy Ball rose over £140,000 and it was an honour to contribute – even on a tiny scale – to an event that helps raise funds for leukaemia patients who need lifesaving transplants.