Dolls' Houses Past & Present

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

Antique Travel Dollhouse by Tracy Harnish

I received one of my most unusual dollhouses as a Christmas gift this past year. American made and dating from the 1890s to early 1900s, the 17 inch long house features detailed decoration lithographed directly onto the wooden surface. It appears to have been made as a travelling dollhouse, as the pieces disassemble and pack neatly inside for storage and transport. I've never seen anything quite like it, and can't find anything similar in any of my dollhouse books. The house has a lot of play wear, but it was so unique, I couldn't pass it up.


Here's how it looks all packed up:


One long side slides off to reveal the contents inside:




Two little china dolls have lived in this house for a very long time, along with a tiny bisque man. (Clearly, correct scale did not matter to the child who originally owned this house!)


Here are all the parts unpacked:



The pieces all stack onto the box base to build a Victorian mansion, complete with a tower and porch:  



One of the house's most interesting features is the garage on the left side, complete with its own sliding door:



The now faded and worn lithographed detail is still wonderful, including curtained windows (some with tiny people peering out) and tiles on the roof:




The house is lithographed inside as well, with pictures, windows, and Victorian bric a brac:



I added some old furniture, and now the little dolls have somewhere to sit: 



The little man fits perfectly on the front porch, where he seems to welcome us to his house.


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