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The Nuremberg House

  • Object:

    Dolls' house

  • Place of origin:

    Nuremberg (made)

  • Date:

    1673 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved wood and mixed media

  • Museum number:

    W.41-1922

  • Gallery location:

    Museum of Childhood, Homes Gallery, case 1 []

This house was made in Nuremberg in 1673. We know this because the date is written on the chimney. It is the oldest house in the museum and is a small version of a group of 17th century houses at the Germanisches Museum in Nuremberg . There are several clues about the family who would have owned this house. In those days a sign or picture would show people what services a business offered. In this case there is a unicorn on the left door (missing its horn, unfortunately) signalling that the house belonged to an apothecary or chemist. The family that owned the house had strong religious leanings as testified by
a picture on the right door of the important religious figure, Martin Luther (1483-1546) . The house itself is comfortable with four rooms, two on each level. The upper level has two bedrooms whilst downstairs there is a splendid best kitchen on the left and a working kitchen on the right.

Physical description

A seventeenth century 'doll' or 'baby' house with two kitchens and two bedrooms. The best kitchen is on the lower left and boasts a privy at the back to the left. The trade mark is a unicorn (missing its horn) which indicates that the house belonged to an apothecary. There is a picture of Martin Luther, the religious leader on the right hand door. The house also has a working bell, dovecotes and a star on the roof. The date 1673 appears on one of the chimneys.

Place of Origin

Nuremberg (made)

Date

1673 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved wood and mixed media

Dimensions

Height: 107 cm, Width: 91.5 cm, Depth: 45.6 cm

Descriptive line

Furnished dolls' house made in Nuremberg, Germany in 1673

Labels and date

The oldest doll's house in the V&A, from 1673.

The date of this doll's house is written on the chimney. It is the oldest house in the V&A and as far as we know is the only example of a Nuremberg House outside Germany (there are four much larger houses in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg). Houses of this type were used to help girls learn housekeeping skills. They were usually made for wealthy families as each piece was made by a master craftsman.

There are several clues about the family who would have owned this house. In those days a sign or picture would show people what services a business offered. In this case there is a unicorn on the left door (missing its horn, unfortunately) which means that the house probably belonged to an apothecary or chemist. On the right is a picture of the important religious figure, Martin Luther (1483-1546).

The house itself is comfortable with a well-equipped best kitchen downstairs on the left which was used to entertain in. Note the privy (toilet) in the corner at the back! [23/05/2005]

Subjects depicted

Houses; Furniture; Figures; People; Animals

Categories

Dolls & Toys; Children & Childhood; Architecture; Furniture; Interiors

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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