|Collection: Lucy Britton (nee Thornton)|
But even if the concept of dollshouse play has escaped the majority of readers, most of us will have had a doll to play with. That could have been a conventional female "dress-up" doll, a "baby" doll, or a male soldier or action figure. Dolls of one sort of another are far more common in history and across cultures than we might imagine. And some of these dolls have survived to tell their tales.
In his book "Great Tales from English History" Robert Lacey mentions a Medieval friar, Geoffrey of Lynn (formerly Bishop's Lynn but renamed King's Lynn following the dissolution of the Monasteries). His "Prompter for Little Ones" has a good claim to be the first child-friendly book, and it gives a rare glimpse into Medieval childhood. This prompter or dictionary set out the words a good medieval pupil would be expected to know - many of them to do with religion. But as Lacey notes "...defying the solemn tone, Geoffrey also listed the names of toys, games and children's playground pastimes. We read of ragdolls, four different types of spinning top, ...games..." Lacey goes onto tell us that Mudlarks on the River Thames have made some wonderful finds over the years. Including tiny pewter playthings dating back as early as the 13th century - miniature jugs, pans, other kitchen and cooking utensils - just about everything you would need to equip a doll's house. Along with small metal soldiers that included a knight in armour cast from a mould, so evidently mass produced for the children of well to do medieval clients. Lacey draws the obvious conclusion that medieval grwon-ups recognised and cherished the magic world of childhood.
So is it a really a "mad" pursuit , as thought by some, when evidently past a youthful age some of us become "makers"or "collectors" - allowing us to play once more with impunity.
Big on miniatures and lost in our tiny worlds...... Medieval Morsels, Abasketof and many
|MedievalMorsels Etsy hop owner Mary|
|Abasketof ...Etsy shop owners Lucy and Gillian|
other doll's house miniaturists love to pursue this hobby. Different maybe, but perfect in our own small way. [With thanks to a partner who could not stop himself coining these disparaging, but essentially tongue in cheek "put-downs" (the italics).]