Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Maquette: de zolders - The attics

First of all I want to wish everybody a very happy Newyear. I hope that 2019 brings a lot of good things to all of you! And I would like to thank you all for your nice comments on my last post. And welcome to Brandy Wilcoxen for becoming the newest follower of my blog.

I start the new year with finishing the model on which I will base the Dolls' house itself. So today I want to do a post to show you the plan for the attic of Huis ter Swinnendael.
Model making in progress. Putting the empty boxes of the winebottles to good use. :-)

Because of the domed ceilings in the large entrancehall, and the ceiling and lantern on the roof above the art-gallery, the floorspace of the central part of the house can't be used on this level. Because of this, the attic will only have four rooms.

The lay out of the attic rooms.
On the left side there  will be the kleerzolder (clothes attic) where the clean clothes and linnens are mangled, ironed and pressed. The black blob surrounded by the blue and white tiles is where a stove will stand. It will be used to heat up the irons. The cupbourds surrounding it have shelves to store the linnen that is pressed and folded but not stored downstairs in one of the bedrooms. I will need to make purpose furniture like a linnenpress and a mangle and tables for ironing end folding.
De kleerzolder or clothes attic.
Behind it, separated by a latticed fence will be the attic where obsolete furniture and household items will be stored.  Perhaps I will add a mezzanine floor above the attic for storing the wood and peat that fuels the hearth and ovens in the kitchen and the fireplaces in the rooms. But I am not sure yet. In townhouses, fuel was always stored in an attic. It was high and dry and an ideal place. Swinnendael is a country house within a park. Its trees provide all the firewood that is required. From there it could be hauled to the house when required via the servants entrance.
The storage attic.
In the opposite wall is a door which will give access to the space above the enteance hall. It won't be a room/attic but can house the winch used to lower and raise the large chandelier that will hang in the entrance hall below it.
The third room in the attic will be the maids room. It will be situated in the right wing. It will have Bedstedes (built in beds) for the housemaids to sleep in. In between you will find builtin wardrobes. Perhaps some sewing and repairwork and darning was done here in the evening. Like in the staff rooms in the cellar the rooms up here will be whitewashed. Because of all the wood there will be no open fires on this floor. The maids room and the kleerzolder will have iron stoves standing inside the fireplaces. I have read that in the 17th century these kinds of stoves were imported from germany. The spectacular Rembrandthuis dollshouse has one as well.
The maids rooms with three box-beds or bedsteds.
They were no doubt more economical than open fires but that probably was not inportant to the family residing here. Their park provided all the fuel the needed. So I plan to put them in the attic for safety rather than economy.
And last but not least, this attic will house a secret. A room that even not all the current inhabitants know about. Behind the maids room lies a small space tucked away. It is a "schuilkapel" or secret chapel. Schuilkerken were catholic churches which were condoned in the Republic of the 7 provinces but whose places of worship ought to be concealed from the public eye. To be accepted as a member of the elite one had to be a protestant.
The secret chapel, used as an oratorium by Lady Zonneschut.
I imagine that the grandfather of Carel Polyander Zonneschut had secretly converted to catholicism and a chaplain held holy mass here. Probably on a sunday after he and his family and staff had attended the protestant service in the village church. A chapel that was forgotten when his son, the fiercely protestant father of Carel Polyander closed it off.
However Carel Polyander is an 18th century amateur philosopher. He is an atheist at worst and an agnostic at best. Despite the troubles in the family, he loves his wife dearly. When they lived in Paris, during his ambasadorship, his wife, Lijsbeth-Anna Zonneschut, converted to catholicism. When they returned to the Netherlands he reopened the chapel and redecorated it for her to use as a private place of prayer. I imagine her praying here, hoping that her royalist husband and revolutionary son will bury the hatchet and make peace again.
The secret chapel,, dedicated to Saint Sebastian.
Thank you for popping in. I  hope you like my plans for the attic floor. The model of the dollshouse I am building is finaly finished. Of course details and colourschemes will change throughout he build but this maquette will be the blueprint for the real deal.

Feel free to leave a comment below. That's it for now. Enjoy you'r own projects and till the next time!


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.