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Dolls' house - The Elkin House

The Elkin House

  • Object:

    Dolls' house

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1830 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cohen, Meyer (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Jointed and painted wood

  • Credit Line:

    Bequest of Mr Elkin for Miss W .A .Elkin

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This house is said to have been made by the father of Sir Francis Palgrave (1788-1861) for his children. It is unusual because it is portable. It was designed to travel, and originally had handles on both sides. In the days when people travelled by coach and horses, they would often have to prepare for long journeys and long stays when they arrived at their destination. To keep them entertained, and to show off to their hosts, some ladies took their dolls' houses with them on such trips.

Physical description

The house has two storeys and three bays. On the front facade, the ground floor is painted cream with beige woodwork and stucco brickwork. There are four sash windows and a door reached by two steps and painted green and brown. It has a knocker and is numbered 134. There is a lunette shaped fanlight above the door. The top floor is painted to resemble red and yellow brickwork with five imitation glazed sash windows. The other sides are plain cream - one has a brass handles but the other handle is mercury. The front façade is hinged at both ends, and opens between the central and one side bay. Inside is a central staircase with two rooms to either side, one on each floor. On the first floor are two wallpapered bedrooms and on the ground floor a wallpapered living room and a painted kitchen. The hipped roof is surrounded by a moulded cornice with a small pediment in the centre.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1800-1830 (made)


Cohen, Meyer (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Jointed and painted wood


Height: 89.5 cm, Width: 112 cm, Depth: 55 cm

Object history note

Said to have been made by the father of Sir Francis Palgrave for his children, according to the former owner's letter. Sir Francis Palgrave (1788-1861), and originally Francis Ephraim Cohen, was the eldest son of Meyer Cohen, a stockbroker who was financially ruined in 1810 and died in 1831, and his wife Rachel Levien Cohen.

Given to the Museum in 1930, and transferred to the Bethnal Green Museum (i.e. Museum of Childhood) the same year [30/12156].

Descriptive line

Dolls' house known as the Elkin House made in England between 1800 and 1830



Subjects depicted



Children & Childhood; Dolls & Toys

Production Type



Museum of Childhood

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