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Top 10 Victorian Classics in Miniature Part 1

Jane Kubiesa

Posted on 26 Jul 2011

Fainting Couch
Fainting Couch
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1. FAINTING COUCH

The fainting couch, chaise longue, or day bed was vital in a Victorian home to accommodate swooning ladies. The Victorians had the technology to make overstuffed furniture using upholstery springs and layered padding. These one armed sofas were covered in dark luxurious fabrics which hid the soot stains from the newly installed gas lighting. This miniature version comes from miniature upholsterer Kris Compas. Website: www.cdhm.org

2. OMNIUM

The omnium was a symbol of status, whether called by this name or alternatives, whatnot or etagere, these little shelf units were prized by middle-class ladies wanting to display their wealth. Upon them were placed curios and ornaments. They could be floor standing or wall mounted, and had at least 3 shaped shelves and carved and turned supports. Dark wood was preferred, walnut, mahogany and stained oak. This omnium is from Bespaq and is available from S P Miniatures. Website: www.spminiatures.com

3. CRANBERRY GLASS

What better way to fill your whatnot than with a few items of prestigious and expensive cranberry or ruby glass. Its popularity went sky high in Victorian times, not least because the colour is achieved by the addition of real gold to the glass manufacturing process. Miniature glassblowers Glasscraft employ some of the same techniques that were used to create Victorian cranberry glass and have a huge range to choose from. Website: www.glasscraftuk.com

    

4. TROMPE L'OEIL

It is no secret that the Victorians loved ornamentation and extravagance in theirhomes. This can be demonstrated by the use of trompe l'oeil, literally meaning a trick of the eye. Victorians created painted marble effects and wood graining onto furniture and interior features, whilst owners of grand houses went one step further with painted wall and ceiling panels to mimic faraway exotic vistas and dramatic sky-scapes. Some of these are now available in miniautre from www.dollhouse-wallpapers.com

5. BEDROOM SUITE

The concept of having sets of furniture really took off in Victoria's reign, but it was the bedroom suite that grabbed everyone's attention due to particular items of furniture which were de rigueur at the time. The most fashionable beadstead to have was a half tester, which brought with it improvements in health due to its open nature compared to the previous curtained four-poster versions. The dressing table of choice was the Duchesse model with a toilet mirror above. Both used fabric and matching fabrics for bed canopy and dressing table would be draped in swags, trimmed with lace, and these would be extended to the curtains, wall coverings, mantle shelf trimmings, and table coverings. This style is available from Reverie Miniatures. Website: www.reverie.co.uk

6. TRUMPET SEWING TABLE

Sewing and embroidery were considered appropriate pastimes for respectable Victorian ladies, so much so that the sewing table became a regular sight in cultured homes of the period. This lacquered Chinoiserie style trumpet work box has a lift up lid, recessed compartments, and the classic tapered shape, and is available from Piccole Tentazioni. Website: www.piccoletentazioni.it

    

7. DRESDEN PORCELAIN

Another favourite for the omnium is 19th century Dresden porcelain. It was gilded, patterned and painted and harked back to classical times with its Rococo influences. Often in the form of candlesticks and figurines, it came from dozens of factories in Germany, but these 1/12th scale pieces are from Literature in Miniature. Website: www.literatureinminiature.co.uk

8. ALEXANDER SWING ROCKER

Also known as a platform rocker, this chair by H & A G Alexander & Co. Ltd revolutionised the use of rocking chairs in the home. Due to advancements in design, the seat now rocked above a platform on metal springs, rather than the whole chair moving on gliders. There was less damage done to walls, surrounding furniture and floors than with a traditional rocker, and less floor space was therefore needed to house the chair. This miniature chair is made by Colin Bird. Website: www.colinbird.co.uk

    

9. MODESTY SCREEN

In an age of high morals, and where the sexes were often segregated, the modesty screen was a key item at a lady's disposal. Where husband and wife HAD to share a bedroom, the screen was used for dressing behind. Ladies may also have washed behind it whilst they entertained guests in their bedroom, as this room often doubled as a parlour. Women were encouraged to decorate screens with embroidery, painting or decoupage. This miniature version is from Claire James at The Pedlars Tray. Website: www.thepedlarstrayltd.co.uk

10. MINTON FLOOR TILES

By the 1890's Minton floor tiles were a familiar sight in hallways of Victorian villas and terraced houses alike. Utilising revival gothic designs, featuring a repeating pattern and edged by several borders of tiles in related designs. The more complicated the pattern, the more expensive it would be to lay, so homeowners liked to dazzle their visitors with a display of wealth in the hallways of their homes. This Victorian Tile paper is from Dolls House Wallpaper. Website: www.dollshousewallpaper.co.uk

    

This article was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine issue 206. If you enjoy reading such articles, why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine, or better still, why not take out a subscription so that you never miss another issue. For fans of Facebook and Twitter, please use the buttons at the top of this feature to share it with your friends.

There are several other article available on our website covering the favourite miniature pieces from various eras, please take a moment to browse the following pages:

 

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