Tuesday, 6 November 2018

The four seasons of miniature pipes? New treasures and a failure.

Before I start I would like to thank you all for your nice comments on my last post. And I would like to say welcome to Kathrene McKinnel and Rob Hawkins for becoming my newest followers. Thank you for your interest in my project.

Miniature clay pipes from Gouda. The white stem will have to be glued back together. 

First the new treasures.
When I looked through the catalogue of our local auction house I noticed a lot with antique miniature clay pipes from te city of Gouda and four small figurines. On the day of the auction I was fortunate to acquire the lot.

These pipes have broken stems. The real pipes also boke easily. The green jar
is made by Elisabeth Causeret and perfect as a tobacco jar. The tobacco 
consists of broken tea leaves. :D

Although the pipes are actualy a bit too big, the scale is 1:10 instead of 1:12, this type of pipe was common from the 16th right into the 19th century and are perfect for my Huis ter Swinnendael. The two long pipes will end up in his lordships library. The small pipes will end up in de Stewards office located in the cellar.

The four seasons: Winter next to an altar with a bowl with fire

The second part of the auction lot are this group of four figurines made of pijpaarde (pipe clay). They are made in the late nineteenth century and represent the our seasons. In Gouda the pipe makers also made figurines and decorative objects to sell as affordable decoratons for those who could not afford expensive decorations.

The four seasons: Spring with a garland of flowers

My plan is to use Autumn and Winter as statues in de picture gallery. These men are clothed in a classical manner and look like a Roman priest with an altar and a Bachus with a broken arm. They look like marble statues that Carel polander could have brought back on his Grand Tour.

The four seasons: Summer, standing next to a bushel of corn.

It really is a shame that the two ladies are dressed like 19th century ballerina's. They are pretty but unfortunately don't fit in the style of the house. I will keep them though, but not in the house. Perhaps they will make a nice gift?

Autumn, with an arm missing, but with a wreath of vines and grapes

And now the failure.
The other news is that I have been sawing wood to make the walls floor and ceiling of my first room, The kookkeuken (cooking kitchen). Unfortunately I do not own a sawtable and have to do it by hand. The way that I have designed it, with the rooms sliding in and out of the house like drawers, accurate and precise sawing is  paramount.

The first floor. It all looks so simple. :-)

The result of my hard labour was deplorable. A waste of time, energy and material. Well most material can be reused for something else but thats all I'm afraid. The lines weren't straight enough or one or two milimeters off, et cetera. very disapointing.

The second floor. 
What to do? Unortunately I have no budget for a good sawtable at the moment. And going on by hand for these large components that need to fit precisely, is no option. Neither is waiting for my monthly hobby budget to grow to the required amount. The (short term because I still want/need a sawtable) answer is to have the walls lasercut. I intended for the windows to have them cut by laser anyway, so why not the walls with all the necessary holes as well?

Two complete windows and some of their components.

So after drawing and sketching on paper, building a model out of card board, I am now redrawing everything with a designprogram for architects. First the floorplan than every component (walls etc.) for each room. The different walls and components are grouped together on a template and will be sent to the lasercut company for cutting. Lets see if this works!

That's it for now. Enjoy you'r own projects and till the next time!


Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Dollshouse show in Arnhem september 2018

First of all I would like to thank you all for your nice comments on my last post. And I would like to say welcome to Audra Schacht, Veronique Blommaart and Stephanie Murray for becoming my newest followers. Thank you for your interest in my project.

A still life with a bowl of fruit.

This weekend I visited the fair for miniatures and dollshouses in Arnhem for the third time. And it was lovely! I met several friends and nice people and made new friends. I learned a lot from their kind advise for which I am gratefull. I should now be able to avoid a few beginner mistakes. But rest assured, There wil be plenty of other mistakes to make. :-)

There were so many great miniaturists selling their beautiful work that it is needless to say that I blew my budget for this fair in No time. And without knowing it, someone saved me from overspending big time on a gorgeous miniature from Vonas by buying it right in front of my nose. Now I have time to save up for it the next time I get the chance to buy it. :-)

Since I am busy with the rough build of the first rooms in servants quarters I focussed on buying miniatures that will find a place in there.

 But what did I buy? First of all here are the huge glass bottles from Kunstgewerbe Holzner. I plan to weave baskets for them and then they should find their way into the cellar.

Another lovely piece is this flute or recorder made by Gerrit van Werven on the lathe. It is made from bone and not ivory, but there are practically no veins vissible so it looks like it is made from Ivory. This will find a place in the large salon eventualy, bu it will go into the Stewards office. Perhaps the steward of sir Zonneschut played music on this flute, the sparse moments that managing his masters estate was less demanding. :-)

For the cooking kitchen I bought 6 pieces of saltglazed stoneware which in Dutch we call 'Keuls aardewerk' since it was originally imported from the city of Cologne. In the historic dollshouses from the 17th and 18th century, which can be seen in several Dutch museums, you always find some Keuls aardewerk among the potterie in the kitchens and cellars. Some of you may recognise the work of Elisabeth de Causeret. I love every piece. The small jug could contain milk or cream. The flat container could hold butter. The large jug needs a cork and could hold any liquid. The large pots con be closed off with a wooden lid or bown paper and cord. This type of pot was ofthen used to hold vegetables preserved in salt or fat. some ere used to contain oil. enough options to choose from.

The green lidded pot has not yet found a purpose. A tobacco jar for the Stewards desk? What do you think?

The last miniature I bought is for me the 'piece the resistance' is this stunning plate with fruit made by Ilona from Minimumloon! The gorgeous plate you see underneath the fruit, is a piece by Henny Staring Egberts. So with one buy I acquired miniatures of two miniaturists that I admire. The fruit Ilona made consists of plums, muscat grapes, a Quince and a yellow squash or pumpkin. The scene was inspired by a painted stilllife from the 17th century. It is a lovely ensemble and I was hooked when I saw it. The amount of detais lis staggering and my picture of it doesn't do it justice.

Well you will understand that I am verry pleased with my purchasses. Another thing that I want to show you is what I picked up at a fleamarket a few weeks ago. These two angels once adorned a clock. These are mass produced. Cast in spelter and painted to resemble gold. Their bodies ar quite elongated. If they were shorter they would fit in better with there 18th century counterparts. But they are so log because it is assumed that people look up at them when the clock would hang on the wall. I bought them because I plan to paint them to resemble sandstone. The can perhaps go on top of the facade of thehouse to adorn the balustrade or perhaps on a plinth as garden statues?

I am not sure yet but will think of something when the time comes. They play music and dance. Just the merriment and gayety you would associate with a summerreidence like Huis ter Swinnendael. These houses were built for pleasere and relaxation in hte summermonths after all.

Thats it for now. Thank you for your visit and until next time.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Bibliophile, or for the love of books...

I have been very much absent this summer on Blogspot. But I'm back! Although summer is usually rather quiet in my line of work, this summer was the exception. I have been very busy (which is not very nice during the heatwaves we have had last few weeks) and did not have time for Swinnendael. So my project has not progressed at all in the way I had envisioned it. 
Last year I have posted several posts in Dutch, some in English and some were written both in Dutch and English. This is quite inconsistent and confusing. I have decided that it is easier for most people to read or translate an English text than a text in Dutch. Whenever I talk about rooms or objects with typical Dutch names I will use those Dutch names and will add an English translation between brackets. I hope that this will work for all of you.

But I did at least do something. I have finally purchased a book I was looking for over more than a year now. "Het Hollandse Pronkpoppenhuis" van Jet Pijzel- Dommisse. It was published in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Its subject are the dolls houses in the collection of the Rijksmuseum and what they can teach us about the Dutch Interior and household in the 17th and 18th centuries. The book is a must have for me but it is no longer in print. Even for second hand the price for this book rarely falls below the € 200,- mark. So when I found one in near pristine condition for half that price I knew that I would not leave the seller without that book.

I have read it from front to back. It has been very inspiring. As you can see in the pictures above it contains a ton of information which is very useful to improve my project.

I really love books. Our study is crammed full with them. In the course of two years I have collected 35 books concerning dollshouses. Some new and some second hand. There are a few books still on my wishlist but I have the majority of the books I want on this subject. I have taken the opportunity for this post to make a small inventory of these books. I have not included my books on regular period furniture and historic houses. That could be the subject of another post. :-)

This pictures shows the reference books on existing dolls houses or room boxes.

This picture shows my books on building dolls houses. Some also have projects for the interior and furniture.
 These books concentrate on projects for period furniture. This is as yet to professional for my skills, but I am working on it. An tot the left you see two books by Angie Scarr on miniature food in fimo.

These books cover interiors and miniatures in general and of different era’s.

And these books finally are about soft furnishings, upholstery and embroidery. I 
have never  done any of that in my life, but that won’t stop me from trying. :-)
Now you know how I spent some of my free time this summer. I hope to find the time to finish some of the miniatures I am working on so that I can show them to you before I go on vacation in September. I will come back right in time for the DHN show in Arnhem on 29 and 30 september.