Friday, 28 June 2019

In front of the looking glass...

Those who have read the adventures of Alice will know... Weird things go on behind the looking glass. better stay in front of that thing...
Hello my friends, In this post I would like to share some of the miniatures that I have acquired from several sources. On the one hand it is great to find some great pieces that fit in my huis ter Swinnendael. On the other hand it is a stark reminder that I really need to start building. But soon there is progress to report on that account. :-)

First the looking glass

I love mirrors. And in miniature you can find lovely examples. From small and elegant to grand and ornate. This one from John Hodgson is cast in pewter. It is an elegant Georgian design. Contemporary with and similar to the Rococo mirrors on the continent. I found it on Etsy for a very reasonable price. The costs for postage from the US and customs almost doubled that so in the end could just have bought a new one from John Hodgson himself. ;-O
But I am still very happy with this mirror. It fits the Alison Davies fireplace that I marbled in the workshop of Simone van Kasbergen. A workshop she gives again prior to the Arnhem Dollshouseshow in september. I wholeheartedly can recommend it.

Lets stick with the shiny stuf.

Here you see a cast copper finial of the lid of a glass sugarbowl that had broken to pieces. The owner wanted to throw it all out when I asked If I could have the finial. She graciously gave it to me. Perhaps the fact that I did not break it helped a lot. :-) Years of cleaning rubbed off the silverplate in some places. I can have that replated someday. In style it is baroque rather than Rococo so it can pass as a Marot piece. Although it is a bit rough the shape and size are alright for 1:12. It could be a silver urn, a potpouri container or a silver teacaddy.

Not rough but delicate are the silver chocolate pot (above) and the ceremonial or dress sword (below). Both pieces are made by Jens Torp. I acquired them from the collection of Elly. Hot chocolate was still a very fashionable drink. And. Such an elegant container is just right for Lijsbeth Zonneschut when she craves for a cup of hot chocolate on a chilly winter morning. When the view on the gardens outside show little more than pale greys and frosty greens.

The Z of Zorro... I mean Zonneschut!

The dress sword or rapier needs a sheath or scabbard to hold it. Thanks to Ilona from Minimumloon I now have an adress to source very fine leather. Once I have it I will make it. The steel sword with the silver handle is quite the ceremonial weapon for nobles and courtiers to wear up and into the 18th century. This fine example may be used by Carel Polyander when he was still in grace with the powers that be and Prince William V still had a court in The Hague.

A smoking gun.

Well perhaps not smoking... I bought this gun together with the mirror. I don't know who the maker is but it is nicely made. As opposed to the dress sword this single barrel is meant to be used. The park and farmlan of the Swinnendael estate is also used for the hunt. I plan to put a gun cupboard in the Rentmeesterskamer (Stewards room) and this is the first occupant. If I can find the correct hollow steel tube I want to try to make more rifles.

The hunter or the hunted?

And speaking of a hunt. The game and birds on the estate are not just there for show. So these pheasants and mallard are the result of the latest hunt. I bought these (Together with the Escutceon desk) also from Elly's collection. The birds have real eathers ont them. They will either go into the kitchen or the larder. Haven't decided on that yet. The scene in Huis Ter Swinnendael will be set in early summer. So having pheasants hung from the ceiling is not very logical but there it is. I still like them a lot.

Well thats it for now. No Wonderland behind the looking glass but som lovely miniatures in front of it. A little mini wonderland in the making. ;-0

I hope that you like this post and my new treasures. I wish you all good luck with your own projects! 
Till next time.


Sunday, 16 June 2019

Keeping out the draft - A miniature folding screen tutorial

Hello my friends.

In the last post you could see a paravent or folding screen behind the miniatures I showed you. Today it is finished and I want to share with you just how easy it is to make such a folding screen.  But first I want to welcome Anna Scott and Jodi Hippler as the latest followers of my little foray into dollshouses and miniatures.

In the olden days people did not like to sit in the draft and for good reason. Unfortunately most houses of the time, including the grandest palaces, were not draft free. Oh and by the way, this little rascal is Quintus, Lady Zonneschuts' companion dog.

Quintus! Get off that chair!

In every dutch dolls' house of the 17th and 18th century we can find in museums there is at least one folding screen or paravent in their inventory. Either covered with Japanese lacquered paper, painted canvas, tooled leather or with the same fabric as used for the wall hangings, upholstery and curtains for the room the folding screen is placed in.

The Japanese paravent from the doll's house of Petronella Dunois in the Rijksmuseum. (photo link)

The folding screen in the dolls'house of Petronella Oortman in the Rijksmuseum. 

A (broken) screen with a landscape painted on canvas. From the Amsterdams Museum (Photo link)

In books on historic houses and their interiors, and indeed in books on historic periods and miniature furniture or miniature embroidery several examples of (miniature) folding screens can be seen.

It goes without saying that Huis ter Swinnendael will need at least one of these. But what should it look like? In the digital archive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art I found two drawings containing a study for a Stage Set. They were made in the Jacques de Lajoüe. I loved them instantly but had no real use for them. Until now that is.

Luckely both designs are practically the same size so they needed no resizing at all. I printed them on paper and cut them out in 5 panels. Because the designs are symetrical I did not want an even number of panels with a division through the middle. That would only emphasise symetry. Now the central pannel is flanked by 2 symetrical but opposing panels. Not nescesary but esthetically more pleasing in my opninion.

Then it was time for the construction. I kept it very simple. I have bought a stack of little wooden cigar boxes in a fleamarket, a few years ago. It was high time to take some of them apart and cut out 5 panels that are 5,2 cm wide and 14.2 long. The panels of the cigarboxes are made of cederwood and are aproximately 2.5 millimeters thick, which is a good thickness for 1:12 furniture.

After sanding I glued the paper on the wooden panels. When the glue was dry I stacked the 5 panels and used linnen backed sportstape to tape the 5 panels together. I cut the tape open between the paneld whereby the remaining tape acts as the hinges for the screen. Now we have a folding screen with two matching desings on them.

But it was not finished yet. The tape looked too white and new. The stage set desings are mid 18th century. The scene in Huis ter Swinnendael is set in 1806. So this paravent has been lugged around for over 50 years now. It needed aging. 

I painted the taped sides and top in a light beige ( I mixed titanium white with a teeny bit of yellow chrome oxide and raw sienna to obtain an nice pale beige) trying to match the background colour of the drawings on the panels. Here and there I splashed around the corners s and added small stains on the panel scenes as well. 

When all was dry I varnished (clear varnish with a little raw umber) the whole screen to age it a bit more (the raw umber gives the varnish an antique look. A tip I picked up from Daydreamers blog ). Lastly I added little dots with a brass coloured fineliner to simulate the brass tacks with which the canvas is attached to the wooden carcass of the screen.

And here you can see the result. A decorative folding screen painted with two different but matching architectural follies that looks used but still decorative. In the last post you saw the side with a rococo garden. Here you see the reverse side with statues and urns. 

Quintus. Why are you still on that chair?
Who knows. Before the Batavian revolution when the family lived in happier times this paravent was maybe used as a makeshift backdrop for performing and entertaining during long summer evenings with family and friends? Those must be good memories. :-) 

So if you want to make your own folding screen I hope this post helps you to do so.  The options are endless. I used two watercolours but you can use prints of landsvapes in oils. And the reverse side or both can be covered in a decorative wallpaper or fabric. The choice is yours. :-)

That's it for now. I hope that you have enjoyed this little post. Be well and til next time!


Saturday, 8 June 2019

Unpacking, the never ending story...

Hello my Friends,

First I want to welcome Christian Lamb, Oiseau de Nim and Latchkey & Jonquil as the newest followers of my little project. And I would like to thank you for all your kind remarks on my last post on the Bisschop Dollshouse. I am happy to know that some of you now know of the existence of this lovely house. I understand that DHN will publish an article about the house in the near future (a happy coincidence). Then more people will know of this house. :-) 

In the meantime my partner and I have moved into our new house this week. What a hassle! But I should not complain. The movers did all the heavy stuff, but still.  Many things arealready in their proper place but there are still several boxes to unpack. In some corners the pile of things resemble this picture. Although in 1:1 it is not quite as grand as these pieces. If only... ;-)

These are some of the miniatures I have not yet shown you. (apart from the plated sugar caster) I acquired the birdcage dropleaf table by David Booth and the sidechair by John Hodgson from the collection of Elly de Kraker. I have bought more beautiful pieces, but I will show those in future posts. You may know that Josje has taken care of her collection of miniatures in agreement with Ellie's wishes. She has done that job with great dedication.

I bought the pair of ceramic vases in carbootsale. I don't know who made them but they are ceramic and hand painted. The three little statuettes of Budha's and Shiva come from a fleamarket. The candlestick, ceramic bird and gold coloured pictureframes were bought second hand on the internet. 

Have I forgotten anything? Maybe I have... care to guess? :-)

I'll tell (and show) you more on that self made miniature in my next post. It only needs varnising to be finished.  :-) 

That's it for now. Thank you for stopping by. Have a great day. Until next time!