Dolls' Houses Past & Present

A website and ezine about dolls' houses: antique, vintage and modern. Plus furniture and accessories.

Tiny Things and the Queen of the Needle by Claire Quick

Micro, diminutive, minuscule, tiny, little or teeny weeny. Whatever size of miniature they come in I am obsessed. I have been fascinated by tiny things ever since I was a young girl.


Whilst many collectors seek out a special house, for me it's seeking out the things that go in them. Not necessarily always for a dollshouse, sometimes for just the small size. Miniature versions of real life things ....... and the smaller the better.


Here are the things I've had since childhood:

 

So this one particular day, I won off eBay these incredibly tiny dolls, although when they arrived they were much smaller than I thought they were. I couldn't believe my eyes, such detail for something so small. I knew nothing about them until a chance picture and topic on an online dollshouse site I finally discovered a bit more about them.

  

Queen of the Needle


A young girl called Isabel Belauni-Aran, who came from a village called Cuernavaca in Mexico around the turn of the last century, was known to the local people as Queen of the Needle, and you can see why. It's amazing how these dolls were made and probably very detrimental to her eyesight.


First a frame was made roughly 3/4 of an inch and then very fine thread was woven around the frame. The clothes were then cut out and attached.
The most difficult part then begins ... the embroidery. The facial detail is staggering especially if viewed through a magnifying glass. It's roughly the size of a pin head. The hair is then added. The lady has the smallest plaits you can imagine.
 

 

Each doll took roughly 2 hours and then were sold in a local shop for literally a few cents. These dolls are now highly prized and very sought after. They are apparently "rare as gold dust".

   

My second find was a whole bunch of them all attached to a wire loop. I presume it portrays a Mexican folklore story as there is a bride and Knights. The stitching on the faces not as fine as the first dolls. Possibly not made by her, who knows.

  Two more: 

Finally, here are some of my favourite tiny things:

 

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