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Dolls' house - The Denton Welch dolls' house

The Denton Welch dolls' house

  • Object:

    Dolls' house

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1783 (made)
    1940s (renovated)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Denton Welch

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This house is named after Denton Welch (1915-1948) who was a famous artist and writer. He was seriously injured in 1935 and it was during his convalescence that he put his artistic talents to good use restoring this house which had been stored in a friend's cellar. The house was in very bad condition. He found the date when it had been made, 1783, by the kitchen fireplace under a layer of paint together with the initials M.J.D. Despite the neglect suffered, the house had retained many of its original features, in particular the mantlepieces in each room and the perfect moulded cornices and door frames, the doors themselves being two panelled. Underneath the many layers of paint Denton Welch found the small red bricks which were originally painted on the house. He was probably responsible for decorating the fanlight which was usually painted or left plain in houses of the period. The stairs are made of oak with replacement balusters. As with most 18th century houses the central panel is fixed, with a door opening on each side. The house also has a pediment and balustrade running along the top, both typical of the period.

Physical description

An English dolls' house made in 1783. The date of the house and the initial's M.J.D are found on the inside.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1783 (made)
1940s (renovated)



Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

The initials M.J.D. are inside the house together with the date 1783


Height: 132.1 cm on stand, Width: 107 cm, Depth: 48.3 cm

Object history note

A dolls' house made in England in 1783 and belonged to Mrs Mildred Bosanquet of Deal, Kent which had been in the possession of her mother's family, the Littledales of Yorkshire from the time of its making. Found languishing in a cellar it was restored by Denton Welch in the 1940s.

Mildred Bonsanquet's great-grandmother, Mary Dawson, born in 1779 in Bolton Hall, Bolton-By-Bowland, Yorkshire, may be the MJD whose intitials are found in the house. She would have been four years old in 1783, the date inscribed. Mary Dawson married Anthony Littledale in 1809.

Descriptive line

Dolls' house made in England in 1783 and restored by Denton Welch in the 1930s

Labels and date

Mary Dawson was four years old when this house was made. Her initials are found next to the kitchen fireplace.

By the time it passed down to her great-granddaughter Mildred, the dolls’ house was worn out. It was rescued from Mildred’s cellar during the Second World War by writer Denton Welch, who restored its Georgian glory.




Children & Childhood; Dolls & Toys; Architecture; Dolls' houses

Production Type



Museum of Childhood

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