The Miniature Library of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House by Elizabeth Ashby

I bought The Miniature Library of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House by Elizabeth Ashby from Windsor. It is the 100th anniversary of the Dolls’ House, so I wanted to read about it. I also bought a book on the Dolls’ House. This one, on the library is featuring a foreword from Her Majesty Queen Camilla, so very special.

The Doll’s House was not a toy. It was made for Queen Mary after WWI, to thank her. Many artists were involved in creating it. There are 300 miniature books and dozens of original paintings in the library. Some of the books were written for the Dolls’ House while others were works such as poetry. Among the people who wrote for the Dolls’ House were Thomas Hardy and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. On top of that there are gardening books, atlases, miniature stamp albums, accurate train timetables, bibles, and a cookbook.
In total there are 176 manuscripts, 132 printed books, 24 printed music scores.

The Miniature Library of Queen Mary’s Dolls' House by Elizabeth Ashby

In the book the fascinating history of the library is told, based on correspondence between its architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, and the authors he commissioned together with Princess Marie Louise.
A book, The Book of the Queen’s Dolls’ House, was published in 1924, written by E. V. Lucas, where the books were listed and most of them were reproduced. The books are 4 cm high, but they have different thicknesses, depending on how long they are. The length of books ranges from 100 words to 5,000 words.

Not everyone who was asked to write something did it. Some because they felt they couldn’t do it for various reasons, while George Bernard Shaw refused because he was a communist. Authors of children’s books were not invited to write as this was never intended to be a plaything.

There are so many funny stories included in the book, passages from letters to Princess Marie Louise, about the development of the house, and of the creation of the library. It is unique because it contains so many handwritten books, by prominent authors of the 1920s. I highly recommend buying this book and reading it, even if you can’t visit the Dolls’ House at Windsor.

Taking pictures of the library or the Dolls’ House is forbidden, but check these posts on Instagram by the Royal Collection Trust: manuscript and library.

The Miniature Library of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House by Elizabeth Ashby

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Royal Collection Trust
Year it was published: 2024
Format: Hardback
Genre(s): Book on museum
Pages: 160

About the author: Elizabeth Clark Ashby is Curator of Books and Manuscripts, Royal Collection Trust.
Website & Social Media Links: –

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