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Friday, 26 February 2016

Queen Mary doll's house linens by The Old Bleach Linen Company

We have a very small collection of miniature linens made in N.Ireland, housed at our local museum, the Lisburn Linen Centre. I have been meaning to get photos of these for a good while now, finally got around to it. Please excuse the poor quality in my photos, they keep the lighting very, very low to preserve the fabrics.  You can right click on an image and open in a new tab if you want to get a closer look.

The following text is transcribed from the information boards at the display. (everything in "..")


"Doll's houses have always been a toy for the wealthy as well as a plaything for children. One of the best known is Queen Mary's doll's house which was designed for her in the 1920s by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the noted architect. Built in 1/12 scale, the house was furnished throughout by British Craftsmen and manufacturers. The doll's house was intended as a token of national goodwill and to provide a means of raising funds for charity.  For this purpose it was exhibited at the British Empire exhibition in 1934. It is now on display in Windsor Castle."

"Miniature items prepared for Queen Mary's doll's house. 
Woven by The Old Bleach Linen Company, Randalstown, Co. Antrim. 
Given by Mrs C. W. Bingley, London, 1995"

Image courtesy of Oldbleach.co.uk, hope they don't mind me borrowing it... Don't be fooled, our view of the sun rarely looks like that :D


"These linen sheets and pillowcases, diaper and huck towelling and household cloths were for the use of a miniature royal household and it's servants. Those for the personal use of the royal family of dolls had the hand embroidered cypher of George V while the items with the red markings were to be used by the servants of the royal household"

To help with scale, the box is 10 x 3.5 cm.





Bed linen



Bed linen detail

Towels





"These miniature Irish damask tablecloths and napkins were intended for use when the doll royal family held luncheon or dinner parties"

Tablecloth and a box of napkins on the right. These are just beautiful in person!

Tablecloth and napkin. True colour.

You can see the pattern a bit better in this one.



In the comment section, Sharon asked a good question about how these came to be in my local museum and not in the Queen Mary's dollshouse, and wondering about the scale. Unfortunately I had no way of showing scale in the photos, now with dimensions for the box this should help. 
I found two links, which shows that the company sold the miniature household linen to the general public. They used the association with the Queen's dollshouse, as a sort of Royal warrant of appointment, as evidenced on the packaging...."They are made by the Old Bleach Linen co.Ltd of Randalstown,Northen Ireland-who made all the house hold linen for the Queens dolls house-you can always write to them about anything to do with linen" Rather tempted to write to them, if they are still around.

Worth having a look at it, if you are interested in vintage miniatures. 





I doubt the damask tablecloths were available to buy, from what I have found online...


Thanks Sharon! I'm pleased to have this new information added to the post :)



And I'm away again, I have neglected everyone's blogs, apologies for that, will be back soon! :D 












17 comments:

  1. WOW! Thank you for this post. How beautiful and interesting. I would love to see them in person. Gorgeous!

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  2. C'est magnifique, les broderies et les tissus sont d'une grande beauté . Merci pour nous avoir montré toutes ces merveilles !

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  3. Hello Sarah,
    Those are just wonderful! What exquisite detail!
    Thank you for sharing the pictures.
    Big hug
    Giac

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  4. Thank you for showing us these beautiful work! Many years ago at saw Queen Mary's dollhouse in Windsor. It was an enchantment.
    Geneviève

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  5. Can you tell us how these linens came to be displayed at your local museum instead of with the dollhouse in Windsor? Some of the items look rather large for a dollhouse, like the box of linens tied with a green ribbon and tagged Old Bleach Towels. Are those actually 1/12 scale, or comparative items in full size? Just curious.

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    1. Hi Sharon, Good question! I was going to ponder that myself in this post, I assume these were not actually in the dollhouse, it seems they were made available to the public to buy. There is very little online, I found two links for them, which should help with scale. The box is 10 x 3.5cm

      http://www.vectis.co.uk/Page/ViewLot.aspx?LotId=82977&Section=1321

      http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/antique-bleach-pure-linen-towels-219626048

      Thanks for asking, I'll update the post with this info :)

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    2. Thank you for taking the time to research this.

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  6. Son piezas preciosas- Gracias por las fotos.

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  7. How beautiful. Wouldn't we all just love to have those for our very own - in full-size scale as well as mini! - Marilyn D., Oromocto, NB, Canada, http://charminis.blogspot.ca

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  8. Wow, that is some fine and intricate embroidery. Thank you for sharing the pics =0)

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  9. Wonderful to see these. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Patricia

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  10. Thanks for posting! Lovely linens!

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  11. That is just amazing!
    hugs♥,
    Caroline

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  12. The linen is Incredibly Beautiful and I love the embroidery on them and the cutwork of the dollies and especially the way that everything is folded boxed and be-ribboned. Simply Delightful! :D

    elizabeth

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  13. Hi Sarah, it's so nice to see you again! I love it, it's still hard, even imagining the box is so small, but when measuring that in front of me I have an idea of the scale and that's just wonderful. Vintage/antique miniatures are just lovely and I would love to see Queen Mary's dollhouse in real life and those linens too, amazing, thanks for sharing!

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  14. I own a set of these and many more Old Bleach items My family worked in the firm and I have collected Linen for years

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Thanks for your comment :)