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Queen Mary's Dolls' House: Official…
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Queen Mary's Dolls' House: Official Guidebook

by John Martin Robinson

Other authors: Royal Collection Enterprises (Corporate Sponsor)

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I must tell the reader that I have never seen the actual doll house, but this is a fascinating book. It is hard to believe that one is actually looking at miniatures, the detail is so fantastic! In some ways, this is probably better than, or at least a wonderful supplement to seeing the original. Tiny things are photographed in a detail that may not be possible in viewing it, and one can linger as I imagine one cannot at the real exhibit. The text explains that one views the actual dollhouse in cross-section, one side at a time. This book is organized more as if one was walking through the house, beginning with the Entrance Hall on the Ground floor and then climbing to the top.

The book has close to 90 photographs, almost all of them in color. The ones not in color are mostly historic. There is a floor plan, and a lengthy introduction explaining the history of creating the house.

A marvelous book that should interest anyone who likes dollhouses and home decor.

I was so enchanted by this book that I ordered Queen Mary's Dolls' House by Mary Stewart-Wilson simply because the cover shot isn't in this book, and I figured (correctly) that there would be other unique pictures. A very few of the shots are in both, but not enough to make them redundant for the person who wants all the information they can get. To compare and contrast the two, the Mary Stewart-Wilson book, with photographs by David Cripps, is longer, has more pictures, particularly more closeups of the tiny furnishings, etc., and is a hardcover. I am charmed by Cripp's method of showing scale: he poses the tiny cricket bat next to a regulation cricket ball, and the little golf clubs next to a real golf ball. Without considering price and availability (the S-W book is currently out of print) I would say that it is the better book. If you just want something to jog your memory or give you an idea of what the house is like, either would be adequate. If you are really interested, I'd recommend both: I think the Royal Collection book is a pretty good buy. I'm certainly not considering giving up my RC book now that I have the S-W. This book frequently shoots the rooms at an angle, giving one another view. I actually think the angled shot maintain the illusion better. To compare the shots of the Queen's bedroom, the Stewart-Wilson shot shows the entire bedroom. The Royal Collection shot, at an angle , reveals some additional details such as the fire screen and the chinoiserie cabinet, but cuts off the exteme left-hand side of the room. (Her Majesty has apparently been rearranging her decorative items since the S-W book.) Parts of many of the other rooms are cut off as well, but at times the view of what is shown is better. The S-W detail of the 18th century pietre-dure table concentrates on showing the design on the top. The RC detail shows more of the table and the objects normally on it. The historical sections, revealing how the house came to be built are the most different, and the RC book has more pictures of people who participated in creating the doll house and of the room in which it now sits with the Phillip Connard mural. The captions are overlapping, but not identical, and so one gains more information by having both. ( )
  juglicerr | Jul 11, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robinson, John Martinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Royal Collection EnterprisesCorporate Sponsorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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