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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: dolls' house (2)

Reassembling the dolls' house

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
8 August 2011
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Comments (0)

Over recent months, Volunteer Sandra Morrow has photographed more than 600 exquisite items from Pendle Hall, the extraordinary dolls’ house that joined the Museum Victoria collection last year. There are no immediate plans to put the house on display but you can still view it in detail, as records and pictures of each piece are newly-listed on History and Technology Collections Online.

Sandra also recorded the reassembly of the dolls’ house once all the individual pieces had been registered, photographed and assessed by a conservator. She’s compiled a time-lapse video of the reassembly for which she used reference photographs of the house in Tasmania that were taken before it was packed up and moved to Melbourne.

 

The eagle-eyed among you will spot that she’s not wearing gloves. Most heritage collection objects are handled with gloves to protect them from the oils and sweat that accumulate on our hands. However gloves can make it difficult to handle very small objects like the miniature candlesticks and pantry goods of the dolls’ house. In these cases, very clean gloveless hands are the safest way to pick up the tiny items.

Links:

MV Blog: Introducing Pendle Hall

Collections Online theme: Pendle Hall Dolls' House

Introducing Pendle Hall

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
2 March 2011
Comments
Comments (4)

Pendle Hall is an enormous, elaborate and intricate dolls’ house that Felicity Clemons built almost entirely by hand. It was donated to Museum Victoria through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program in 2010 and work has begun to ready it for eventual display at Melbourne Museum.

Beginning in the 1940s, Melbourne-born Felicity was inspired to create Pendle Hall after her daughter received a small dolls’ house as a gift. Ultimately, Pendle Hall reached 21 rooms of Georgian-style country splendour, complete with parquetry floors, working chandeliers, a fully-stocked larder, a resident family with servants and even a mouse beside a wheel of cheese.

Pendle Hall larder The shelves in Pendle Hall's larder are well-stocked. You can see the wheel of cheese and mouse in the middle of the the first shelf.
Image: Michelle Berry
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Janet Pathe has been steadily registering the individual pieces which number over 600 items. As chief unwrapper, she’s been the first to sight some of the amazing miniature items therein. “ I really like the little pack of cards but some of the pieces of furniture, like cabinets, are just absolutely amazing. All the little drawers and doors open.”

Cabinet from Pendle Hall A cabinet from Pendle Hall's Withdrawing Room. It's hard to believe this intricate piece is only 18 cm high. (HT 25753)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Pendle Hall has been on display in Felicity Clemons’ private museum in Westbury, Tasmania for many years. To transport it from the Apple Isle, the dolls’ house was carefully photographed while assembled, then each item wrapped, labelled and boxed by a conservator. The reference photos will be critical to reassemble and manage all the little pieces, since, as Janet explains, “so much of it is too small, like the tiny candlesticks, for us to put registration numbers on them.”

Display board for Pendle Hall This board shows the tools and techniques Felicity Clemens used while constructing Pendle Hall.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

While Janet registers, conservator Sarah Babister is working through the house room by room. “At the moment I’m doing a conservation assessment on all 612 components, literally looking at every piece, and trying to determine what treatment, if any, needs to be carried out,” says Sarah. “To date most pieces I have examined only require basic surface cleaning, however there are some components which will need to be repaired or stabilised." In some cases she may consider replacing materials (such as a tiny foam mattress) with an inert material because she suspects the foam may be speeding up the deterioration of the bedspread on top.

Sarah with the Chinese Bedroom furniture Conservator Sarah is working through the furniture from the Chinese Bedroom of Pendle Hall.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Links:

ABC Radio National: interview with curator Michael Reason on ByDesign

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