I’m always excited when there’s a something new to see at The House of Illustration. The most recent exhibition is Lauren Child’s hand-crafted dolls’ house, which is on display for the very first time.
Lauren Child, author, illustrator and creator of Charlie & Lola, has a secret passion – dolls’ houses. She’s been working on her own dolls’ house for the past 30 years and her lifelong obsession continues to inspire her ideas and shape her work.
I’m fascinated by dolls’ houses. But why are they so popular and what’s the explanation for these miniature interior worlds having such power to cast a spell beyond childhood?
I’ll never forget when a few years ago I visited the Kensington Dolls’ House exhibition. It was like discovering a new world. Packed with hundreds of traders of any imaginable miniature, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much money exchanged at an exhibition. Full of ardent collectors willing to pay big money for tiny objects of desire, I witnessed the insatiable hunger to create, update and furnish their doll’s houses.
‘Lauren Child’s dolls’ house is a work in progress that changes as she experiments with ideas and techniques. Many of the objects, like the lacquer cabinet, ceramics and some of the more delicate furniture, have been painstakingly made by dolls’ house experts. Other pieces are made by Lauren, and some things are found objects not originally intended for a doll’s house.’
Lauren likes the effect of the mismatched items: “The dolls’ houses I love best are the ones where the objects are not all in perfect scale. There’s a strangeness to them and I like to be reminded that I’m looking at a scene which isn’t quite real.”
Here’s a peek inside the dolls’ house it took Lauren Child 30 years to make from the Today program on BBC Radio 4.
House of Illustration
Lauren Child’s Dolls’ House
2 Granary Square, Kings Cross
London N1C 4BH
Until 7 February 2016