On a visit to the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam it came as a complete surprise to discover these exquisitely crafted dolls’ houses. If you have read the novel or seen the movie adaptation of ‘The Miniaturist’, you would be familiar with one of these treasures and its creator, Petronella Oortman, who was the inspiration for the novel. Either way, discovery of these treasures is a true joy.
The attention to detail is absolutely mind blowing. Made of tortoiseshell with pewter inlay this house stands over 2.5 metres high and almost 2 metres wide. The museum has thoughtfully installed steps on which you can stand to get a closer look. It’s guaranteed to ignite the child in you – enchantment on steroids.
Such houses were a popular hobby of wealthy women of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. No expense was spared as artwork was commissioned and miniature furnishings created that reflected their personal wealth and status.
It’s amazing to note that the miniature items were actually commissioned. The silver, tiling, marble floors, furniture and crockery, were all specifically handmade.
A close up of the room that was designed for ‘lying-in/nursery’ shows the degree of lavish attention to the fabrics used.
The bedroom also has imposing and intricate attention to detail. It’s so charming and fascinating, it will have you wishing for a sip from Alice’s ‘drink me’ bottle so you can step right in.
The other equally fascinating dolls’ house is that of Petronella Dunois. It has 9 rooms and is thought to have been made c.1676.
Close up views show the fascinating little dolls that are said to be dressed in authentic costumes of the period. Every detail seems so realistic!
Note even the ceiling has been decorated with detailed murals.
You can spend hours just gazing into these charming houses that set your imagination running while trying not to feel and intruder. They tell such a story of the life and times of 17th century Holland and who would every have thought back then, that they would kindle a magical and romantic fascination in the 21st century.