Frequently Asked Questions, Answered

I thought I’d take the opportunity to cover a few of the regular questions I am asked about my miniature handmade people.

How big are they?
Most of my miniature dolls are 12th scale (called 1 inch scale in the US). This means that they are 1/12 the size of the real thing. So an average man is about 6 inches tall.

I do make other scales as well. I have made 24th scale, which is half the size of the above. This would make them about 3 inches tall.

The beauty of all my dolls being completely handmade and bespoke, is that I can make them any size to your requirements. If your dolls house is a particular or rare scale, then I can make custom made people to live there.

Do you make them all from scratch? Are they moulds?
The dolls are all handmade, each body part sculpted, painted and assembled by hand. I make all the clothes and add their hair. There are no moulds used, so each one is completely unique.

What are they made from?
They are made from polymer clay. My current favourite is Fimo Doll Art.

How much do they cost?
This very much depends on what the customer wants, any materials I have to source and how much work is involved. Therefore I will discuss with you your exact requirements until we both agree on what we’re aiming for, before agreeing a price. Why not contact me today? dolls@sarahcoupland.co.uk

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Antique dolls’ houses, Leeds

We visited Abbey House Museum in Leeds today. Among their excellent exhibits, including a recreated Victorian streets, there is a collection of dolls and dolls’ houses. Here is one, the late Victorian Lumb House. The family are gathered in the drawing room. IMG_20180118_112458~2.jpg

You can find out more about the museum here http://www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/Pages/Abbey-House-Museum.aspx

Have you seen any houses in museums you would like to share?

Temple Newsam dolls’ house

My idea of heaven and absolute favourite place to be is Temple Newsam estate in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Having grown up in the area I have spent many happy times there and still try to visit weekly. As well as feeding my Georgian obsession with wonderful landscape gardens and 18th century architecture, the estate boasts a further attraction for lovers of the miniature – an exquisitely preserved 1740s dolls’ house.

The house is featured here in the BBC History of the World. (links open in new page)

Comprising four rooms in a glass-fronted cabinet, the house is in remarkably good condition, considering that it was played with by generations of children. Inhabited by several little people, the house contains many beautiful miniature pieces including a fully fitted out kitchen.

The house is not original to Temple Newsam, but serves to illustrate the type of house which belonged to the daughters of the 9th Viscount Irwin in the mid 18th century (pictured below).

The-Five-Sisters-xx-Benjamin-Wilson

Painting by Benjamin Wilson

According to the BBC site, their father would often bring home items for their dolls’ house from the shop of Maurice Tobin in Leeds. Tobin was a whitesmith based in Briggate at that time, and it seems likely that he manufactured miniature playthings for the rich alongside his other wares.

The house currently on display was previously at Stonegappe near Skipton, North Yorkshire, and is believed to have been decorated by the author Charlotte Brontë during her time as governess there. The auction record at Christie’s provides more information about the Brontë connection, and suggests that she put many hours’ work into the house. Artist Serena Partridge has created some miniature items for the Brontë Parsonage Museum, inspired by the life of Charlotte Brontë. As Charlotte worked at Stonegappe in 1839, it’s clear the house was still being enjoyed by children for at least 100 years after it was made.

I believe that the household items were added to over a long period, due to the differences in scale amongst the furnishings and dolls, which in my opinion only adds to its charm.

If you would like to visit Temple Newsam, all relevant visitor info is here.