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Princess Elizabeth's little house - Y Bwthyn Bach

Y Bwthyn Bach

  • Object:

    Princess Elizabeth's little house

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1933-1935 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lines Bros. (manufacturers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted wood, enamelled metal, celluloid

  • Museum number:

    B.125:1, 2-1998

  • Gallery location:

    Museum of Childhood, Creativity Gallery, case 9 []

This dolls' house was made in the 1930s by Lines Bros of Merton, Surrey. It is a model of the Welsh cottage style playhouse which was presented to Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth 11) on her sixth birthday in 1932 by the people of Wales. The original 'Y Bwthyn Bach' now stands in the grounds of Windsor Castle. The cottage was used to raise funds for children's hospital charities before the Princess was allowed to play with it. It has four rooms including a kitchen and bathroom fully equipped with working appliances. Princess Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, loved to give parties in the cottage. Few children had such a large house to play in but this dolls' house version cost 56/- (£2.80) which many parents could afford.

Physical description

The house is broad and stood upon a base painted green. The front opens with two panels to reveal four rooms and a hall and staircase. The front and sides are covered with stucco and painted white; the back is plain wood painted white. There are two large square bay windows and a central door on the ground floor and windows above. There is a side door.
The roof is carved and painted dull yellow to represent thatching. The top of the front panels, over each window, is raised in shape to fit the shape of the roof rather like dormer windows. The four rooms have been wired for lighting, each has a small bulb. These are operated by batteries housed in two compartments at the back of the roof. One has retained its painted wooden cover.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1933-1935 (made)

Artist/maker

Lines Bros. (manufacturers)

Materials and Techniques

Painted wood, enamelled metal, celluloid

Marks and inscriptions

red, black and gold triangle with a large L in the centre
'Harvey Nichols & Co Ltd/Depository/Bournemouth/Name/No.
Harrod's Limited
Furniture Depository Barnes SW13
...MINOPRIO ESQ
...D.No. 5342 21
11.5/64

Dimensions

Width: 30 in base, Depth: 17 in base, Height: 1¾ in base, Height: 22 in house without chimney

Object history note

This is one of the two examples of dolls' houses modelled on the Welsh cottage style playhouse (child-sized cottage) presented to Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II) for her sixth birthday in 1932, by the people of Wales. Called 'Y Bwthyn Bach', the little house was used to raise funds for children's hospital beds before being installed in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Descriptive line

Dolls' house made in England by Lines Bros., early 1930s

Production Note

Reason For Production: retail

Materials

Wood; Metal; Celluloid

Techniques

Painted; Enamelled

Categories

Royalty; Dolls & Toys; Children & Childhood

Production Type

mass produced

Collection code

Museum of Childhood

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