Saturday, May 31, 2014

Memories of Italy in miniature

I have just returned from Italy and I confess that I forgot to take Daphne along. She was very upset with me until she saw what I brought back for her. 
She is tickled pink with her new Vespa and immediately stuck the souvenir gladiator helmet on her head, picked up the Roman forum cat and went for a ride. I can't get her off it
Italy is a beautiful country with so many different things to see. At one point in my travels I found myself on the Via San Gregorio Armeno, Street of Nativity Workshops in Naples, Italy.

It is a narrow pedestrian street crammed with artisan workshops selling nativity scenes (presepi in Italian), accessories, and terra cotta figures. It is a miniaturists dream.

It was frustrating to have only 10 minutes to shop and also to calculate the size of my suitcase and estimate what would fit in it for my return home. I could have spent hours there choosing handmade meats and other food for the kitchen of my antique dollhouses. I have never seen anything like it. 

In the end I selected the few items in the picture here for my FAO Mystery House kitchen. I could have rebelled and stayed longer, but I was following a tour leader and I was worried that if I lost him I would have to live in the street of the presepi forever. Actually that might have been okay, now that I think if it. Daphne has zoomed into the picture on her Vespa to show the scale of the items

Here is a close up of one of the meat baskets

And here is the other.

In Rome I found these wonderful magnets. I realize some of them are slightly out of scale for a dollhouse, but I couldn't resist. It's going to take the dollhouse family a long time to eat all that cheese. Daphne watch out for those cans!!

Down in Amalfi I found these wonderful hand-painted pictures and the sliver nativity scene in the velvet box. It is just the right size for a dollhouse. Amalfi has been a paper making town since Roman times and I found the two handmade miniature books at the paper mill museum. The venetian masks are lapel pins, and the two little jars contain gold and sliver, although I am not sure why they are tourist items. They are a good size for dollhouses though.

Here is  a closer look at the paintings

The little brass pieces are from museum gift shops and represent items from Ancient Rome. The black cat I bought on top of mount Vesuvius and is supposed to be carved of lava, although I have a feeling it is plaster. 

Sorrento is know for its ceramics and I found these lovely little bowls there. Now my dollhouse people have family sized spaghetti bowls. Daphne, watch out! These are breakable. 

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Oh no! There she goes again. I hope she realizes that her helmet isn't approved for the road. Well, at least she's not mad at me any more.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Two-Story Room Box. Antique German dollhouse from 1913.

This unusual room box has two stories. I believe it is from 1913, and is probably from The Moritz Gottschalk firm of Germany. The only other two storey dollhouse I have seen is on this blog:

The house has an entry hall with a water closet under the stairs, and a set of the usual
Gottschalk stairs to the second floor. The water closet has its original toilet with a wooden seat. These WCs are common in Gottschalk houses of this era.

Here is the side view of the entry way and the balcony. The house very god condition, but is missing all of its side windows. The windows on the back wall have upper window panes and lower sills.

The balcony came with lots of flowers and is furnished with antique Thonet Bentwood settee, table and chairs.

The formal parlour came with the unusual green furniture with gold painted trim. I believe that some of the lovely wall and floor papers are replacements. 

The small bedroom was fully furnished and included a sweet baby's crib. The lovely window coverings are a recent addition, but they are on an old rod with antique curtain clips. The presence of the baby tells me that these newlyweds have been married at least a year longer than Mr. and Mrs. Stübchen who have just moved into the other unusual room box next door.

The kitchen came unfurnished but had the old tin sink on the wall. I have raided my antique items to furnish it. The chairs are metal and the table and dresser are wood. The cute little maid has a cap moulded onto her bisque head and her original uniform, but I had to make her a replacement apron before she could go to work. The stove is a Bodo Hennig reproduction of a Marklin stove. It will have to stand in until I find the elusive antique version. I quickly pinned the lace curtain on the window, but I see that I should have put a little more effort in to it before I took the picture.

Mrs. Little is just about to serve tea to Mr. Little. The tea set is a great find from my recent trip to the Pennsylvania countryside. I never fail to come home from there with mini treasures. We also had a lot of fun visiting CM of Left Coast Mini who is in PA to visit her daughter.
Mr. Little is in his original suit. The moths have eaten part of his jacket, but over all he is in great condition for a man who is about 100 years old
I moved the tea table to show you the unusual furniture. The set includes a gentleman's chair, a ladies chair, a settee, bookcase, plant stand, clock and pedestal. 
The large bookcase has a drawer at the bottom.
The hanging clock has real works inside. They no longer keep time, so I may look into getting the clock repaired. The bottom has a hole for weights and a pendulum, but they have disappeared into the mists of time.
Little baby Little is entertained by a jumping Jack hanging over her crib.
Here is a better shot of the bedroom furniture. The mirror also came with the house.
I couldn't find this exact room box in the book Moritz Gottschalk, 1892-1931. The closest I could see were these with roofs. Perhaps mine originally had a roof too. 

Here is a view of the house from the front.
The upper windows are missing their frames and had no curtains. I quickly stitched up a pair for the parlour from an old lace scarf.