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Sculptural installation of dolls' houses - Place (Village)

Place (Village)

  • Object:

    Sculptural installation of dolls' houses

  • Place of origin:

    V&A Museum of Childhood (this iteration, assembled)

  • Date:

    March 2017 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Rachel Whiteread, born 1963 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Mixed materials, mainly painted wood and various plastics

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Rachel Whiteread

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

'Place (Village)' is an assemblage of around 150 dolls’ houses of mismatched styles, collected by the artist over a period of about twenty years. It is a quietly unsettling sculptural work which uses dolls' houses, packing cases and fruit crates to evoke a sprawling hillside community. They are lit from within, but are devoid of both people and objects. The perpetual ‘night’ created by the painted walls and blacked-out windows, allied to the emptiness of the houses, provokes an awed, haunted atmosphere, and a curious feeling of melancholy.

This work was influenced by the V&A Museum of Childhood from its inception: Whiteread recalled that as a child she was mesmerized by its famous collection of dolls’ houses. As an adult, she became interested in dolls’ houses as repositories for memory and family history, since many are passed down through generations of family members. Dolls’ houses can also be a means of personal expression, through collecting items to adorn them, by decorating them, and through playing with them. The absence of people and things in 'Place (Village)' encourages the viewer to invent their own stories about the dwellers’ activities, or about what has happened to the people and their possessions.

Physical description

Sculptural installation of dolls' houses, packing crates and fruit crates. The dolls' houses vary in their age and style, all of them are lit from the inside using LED bulbs. They are arranged on two 'hills' which have been created from the crates.

Place of Origin

V&A Museum of Childhood (this iteration, assembled)


March 2017 (made)


Rachel Whiteread, born 1963 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Mixed materials, mainly painted wood and various plastics

Object history note

Place (Village) was first shown in Naples in 2007, using 52 houses, and was later exhibited in Spain, the USA, and at London’s Hayward Gallery. On each occasion it was shown in a different configuration. A site-specific installation was created for the MoC in collaboration with the artist’s studio. Rachael Whiteread donated the artwork to the Museum in 2017 [2017/85].

Historical context note

Rachel Whiteread was born in Ilford in 1963, she was the first woman to win the annual Turner Prize in 1993, and was one of the 'Young British Artists' who exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1997. Among her best known works are House (1993), a cast of the inside of an entire Victorian terraced house; the Holocaust memorial at Judenplatz, Vienna (2000); and Monument (2001), for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, a transparent resin cast of the plinth itself, inverted and placed on top of it. Other works by Whiteread are held in the V&A collections: a poster for the 2012 Olympic Games in London; Herringbone Floor (2001), a laser-cut relief; and Second Hand (2004), a group of 3D-printed dolls’ house-sized furniture.

Descriptive line

'Place (Village)' installation, dolls' houses, packing crates and fruit crates collected by Rachel Whiteread over a number of years, and installed at the MoC in March 2017

Production Note

The installation consists of mainly mass-produced 20th century dolls' houses.

Subjects depicted

Dolls' houses


Sculpture; Dolls' houses; Children & Childhood

Production Type



Museum of Childhood

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