Alice Sage

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Whiteladies House. W.3-1937 (c) V&A Museum, London

Illuminating dolls’ houses

Lighting is vital for creating a particular atmosphere at home. Do you want it to be rich or minimal, soft and warm or stark and clinical? Developing our approach to lighting our dolls’ houses, we had to balance safety and protection for these treasured historic museum objects, with finding the right interpretive light effects to bring each […]

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'Jenny' in a sitting room of Jennys Home, B.360-2013 (c)V&A Museum, London

Lounge or living room?

Sitting room or saloon? Whatever it’s called, we’ve got plenty of them in the Small Stories exhibition. Louisa in the Tate Baby House is most certainly in a drawing room, a name evolved from its role as a place of ‘withdrawing’ from more public areas. As Thomas Sheraton explained in 1803, “the drawing room is […]

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Installation image of Tate Baby House, W.9-1930. (c) V&A Museum, London

Dearest daughter in law

In the Tate’s fine Manor House, Mrs Johanna Tate has received a letter from her mother-in-law. Johanna’s first pregnancy is a cause of nervous excitement, and everybody has advice of one sort or another. We can read over her shoulder: 12th March 1795 Johanna, Are you confined yet my dear? You must be very large […]

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Doll, c. 1900 MISC.47:4-1979 (c) V&A Museum, London

Meet George Humble. How do you do?

This is George Humble, one of the inhabitants of the Box Back Terrace house. In the Small Stories exhibition, you’ll be able to meet George and the other tenants of Mrs Reynolds’s small but neat South London lodging house. The year is 1900. George Humble has been a tenant of Mrs Reynolds for twelve years. […]

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Wellcome Library, London. Engelbrechts' drawing of an 18th century carpenter shows the many tools of the trade.

The Joy Wardrobe Part 3

On the right hand side of this early 18th century wardrobe, in bold letters several inches high, is painted “Edmund Joy 1712”. Who was this confident inscriber, who claimed this enigmatic piece of furniture as his own? Was Edmund Joy the first owner, or the talented carpenter of this unusual object? Whoever he was, his […]

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joy wardrobe open

The Joy Wardrobe Part 2

Opening the two outer doors unveils another interesting feature of this miniature house. Each one is lined with a different patterned and coloured wallpaper. The wallpaper marks the Joy Wardrobe of 1712 as being a very desirable piece of furniture. The year it was made, the first taxes were charged on this fashionable commodity, at […]

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joy wardrobe

The Joy Wardrobe Part 1

The first house in the upcoming exhibition, Small Stories: at home in a dolls’ house will be the ‘Joy Wardrobe’, made in 1712. It’s a strange object to start with, because it is not in fact a dolls’ house at all. The scale is right, and there are many little windows suggesting a wealth of […]

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