The Perspex Dolls’ House

This Perspex dolls’ house is an analysis of the traditional dolls’ house and breaks it up into components.

December 2020

Perspex doll's house façade

In the traditional dolls’ house objects are assembled in a room, or box. In the dolls’ house of Petronella Oortman, still visible in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam over 700 objects were displayed in nine boxes. All objects were made to scale. 

The interior of the Perspex dolls’ house can be compared to a theatre. The contents of the house are reduced to a series of tableaux; Furniture, Bathrooms, Kitchens, wallpaper and configurations of prototypical people are composed on strips and slide through the house and are made of Perspex.

A series of etched backdrops depict moods and ideas: movement, thoughts and poems. These drop down through slots in the top of the box. 

Personal photographs, which bring together space, actions and personal memories are engraved in timber, perhaps a more living material than Perspex which stands, in this case, for the generic and impersonal. The scale of the components doesn’t correspond with the real scale of the events but of the memory it takes up. So photographs of important, or unimportant events’ are burned on timber cut outs.

A picture of the façade is printed on paper and can be stuck to the front of the box to give the house an address. The façade has not been important for the interior of the dolls house. The early Dutch dolls houses didn’t have a façade. In discussions on the home and the house, activities and content are always spoken of in terms of interior, not the exterior.

The terraced house perhaps shows how many people move through a house over time. Many terraced houses are over 100 years old. In each house people come and go with or without children, furniture and their own rules to occupy the house. What makes the house a home is the combination of the generic, but vital elements of the home so people can create their personal memories. These can take place anywhere in the home, but the event in combination with the place where it took place and what took place create for occupants the geography of the home.

Perspex Doll’s House