Doll houses, whether toys for children or collectible items for adults, come in any architectural style imaginable. From the logical geometric designs of classical and neoclassical architecture to the sometimes confusing subtlety of modern design, miniature houses run the gamut. But what is it about Victorian architecture that is so attractive to doll house collectors? Of all the different architectural styles, the Victorian style is by far the most popular.
One of the elements of Victorian design that is of great interest to miniature enthusiasts is the incredibly elaborate, purely ornate character of Victorian architecture. Featuring lofty, gothic spires, enormous wrap around balconies and porches, and majestic double swinging doorways, this type of house provides ample opportunities to indulge in the little details that miniaturists love. In fact, the more nooks and crannys there are, the more most miniaturists love it. Not only is a Victorian dollhouse an enjoyable challenge to their building skills, but an opportunity to create a truly spectacular showpiece.
As is the case with almost any style of art or architecture, there are historical reasons for the elaborate nature of Victorian design. The austerity and neoclassicism of British architecture in the years leading up to the reign of Queen Victoria gave way to more spectacular designs during the Victorian era. Fortunately for the more ambitious designers of the era, the industrial revolution was in full swing at that point, and it became possible to mass produce the style elements needed to create the Victorian look and feel. Another factor in the development of Victorian architecture was the advent of the locomotive. This allowed construction materials to be shipped long distances which enabled those in remote areas to build ever more ornate homes.
Victorian dollhouses are so charming because, like the full-size houses built in the same style, they have a personality. The romance and elegance of a bygone era can be captured once again in a tiny world. There is a very profound magical quality to Victorian architecture that reminds one of faeries, enchanted gardens, and secret passageways Every Victorian dollhouse has its own character, which the owner can then embelish with colors, furnishings and decorations that add their personal touch to the finished product.
Surprisingly enough, doll houses in the Victorian era were used more for instruction than play. Victorian dollhouses served as teaching aids to show young ladies the proper way to behave and how to care for a home. Indeed, some Victorian doll houses were large enough to let the child stand inside and learn how to perform the domestic duties that would some day be expected of her.