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Doll's house - Tate Baby House

Tate Baby House

  • Object:

    Doll's house

  • Place of origin:

    England, Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1760 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood and mixed media

  • Museum number:

    W.9 &:1 to 348-1930

  • Gallery location:

    Museum of Childhood, Homes Gallery, case 2

Little is known about the lady who last owned this house. Her name was Mrs Walter Tate and the house is named after her. It was made in Dorset and is said to have been modelled on an 18th century Dorset house. It is a complex structure which comes apart in several sections so that the owner, usually a lady, could take it on her travels. In those days people often went away for quite long periods of time. Coach travel took up a lot of time and journeys involved careful planning, therefore visits were often long. The baby house was the pride and joy of the mistress of the house, who would often take hers with her. She would take great pleasure in choosing wallpapers and furniture for it.
The furniture is not contemporary with the house which was updated in 1830 and at regular intervals afterwards by its owners. In an 18th century house the furniture would have been arranged in a more formal fashion around the walls of the rooms. The windows have lost their glazing bars which would have given them an authentic twelve pane look instead of the two panes that were popular in the 19th century. A painted window on the side of the house shows what the windows should look like.
Children would have been allowed to play with the house from time to time under supervision. Guests would frequently take small presents such as little silver kettles or salt containers for the baby house as a token of thanks for their hostess's hospitality.

Physical description

A dolls' house modelled on an 18th century Dorset town house and named after the lady who last owned it, Mrs Walter Tate. It is made of painted wood designed as a classical building of brick with stone coigns and dressings. A balustraded external staircase leads up to the first floor level, and the pedimented entrance door has a Venetian window above. On either side are four windows, two in each storey that can open and shut. Above the cornice is a parapet formed of pilasters and turned balusters, behind which is a glass lantern lighting the staircase hall. An arched entrance in the basement has an oeil de boeuf window on each side. The entrance leads to larders and kitchens. In the sides the top windows are surmounted by drapery swags and a garland of flowers. At each end of the house are chimney stacks. The house comes apart for ease of handling when travelling. The house has undergone renovation at least three times; part of the roof has been added, the windows changed from the Georgian style to the sash windows favoured in the Victorian era, and the stand is an Edwardian addition.

Place of Origin

England, Great Britain (made)


ca. 1760 (made)


unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Wood and mixed media


Height: 7.2 ft, Width: 4.10 ft, Depth: 3.6 ft

Object history note

Purchased from the beneficiaries of the estate of Mrs Walter Tate with dolls and furniture.

Descriptive line

A fully furnished dolls' house made in England about 1760

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Jacobs, F. G; A History of Dolls' Houses (Cassel & Co., London), 1954; pp. 57-58


Children & Childhood; Dolls & Toys; Architecture

Production Type


Collection code


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