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Dolls' house - Mrs Neave's dolls' house

Mrs Neave's dolls' house

  • Object:

    Dolls' house

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1840 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted wood

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased from Mrs M K Neave in 1930.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The house was bought from Mrs Neave of Cotham, Newark-on-Trent, in 1930. It dates from about 1840 but little is known about its origin. It is a snapshot of an early Victorian interior. Of particular interest is the nursery which, by this time, is a more comfortable, much less formal room than before, where a new mother would receive visitors to the new-born baby in some comfort as well as style. The exterior has pointed Gothic windows, an unusual feature in a dolls' house. The rooms are badly proportioned, and the full scale wallpaper and carpets emphasize this. Nonetheless the house conveys an atmosphere of undisturbed early Victorian domestic idyll.

Physical description

Dolls' house made of painted wood with four rooms. The hipped roof has a moulded chimney stack with four chimney pots in the centre. The facade, painted buff in imitation of stonework has three arched windows above (one a dummy) and two below, all glazed and divided by bars. There is an arched doorway and the door is painted brown with two brass handles. On the upper floor is a bedroom and drawing room; on the lower a dining room and kitchen. The rooms are papered and contain a large number of pieces of miniature furniture, figures and other small accessories. Three of the floors are carpeted and there are curtains in the upper rooms.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1840 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Painted wood


Height: 156 cm, Width: 137 cm, Depth: 57 cm

Object history note

The house and contents were purchased for £30 from Mrs Margaret Kirkby Neave, nee Riggall, in 1930.
Margaret was born in 1871, the daughter of a landowning farmer in Lincolnshire.

Descriptive line

Dolls' house known as the Neave House made in England about 1840

Labels and date

Evans & Cartwright

This company made the tin furniture in Mrs Neave’s dolls’ house.

In 1842 the Wolverhampton factory employed 60 people, mostly children aged 10 and above. They worked twelve hours a day from seven in the morning until seven at night.

The factory children didn’t go to day school and very few ever learned to write even their names. But their meagre wages helped their families to survive.
Margaret Kirkby Neave sold this dolls’ house to the Museum in 1930. Her mother, also called Margaret, was probably the first owner of this dolls’ house, while she lived in a large farmhouse in Lincolnshire.

The dolls’ house reflects furnishings of the 1840s, particularly the canopied bed and cradles in the bedroom. Full size wallpaper has been used to dramatic effect.


Children & Childhood; Dolls & Toys; Dolls' houses

Production Type



Museum of Childhood

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