Friday, 1 February 2013

1:12 Scale Books as Accessories for a Tudor Dolls House

Accessories for Leisure Time in a Tudor Parlour
I've been thinking, when looking at my Tudor dolls house, what the people of that era in the 15th and 16th centuries did in their spare time. I imagine that, if you were poor and worked as a labourer or farm tenant, you'd fall into bed exhausted at nightfall! But if you had money and servants to do all the heavy, hard work for you, you would have time in the afternoons and evenings to relax with some entertainment.
  So in my Tudor dolls house I put an illustrated manuscript book on the settle with its blackwork embroidery cover, a mandolin to serenade the lady of the house, and a draughts board. The book is one of Barbara Brear's. You can read my interview with her if you look under 'Guest Interviews' in this blog's menu.
   Books were treasured possessions in Tudor times. They were kept in drawstring bags to protect them and when being read, placed on cushions so the covers would not get scratched or marked.
Sometimes they had embroidered and embellished covers with velvet or canvas bindings.
  Many of the books have survived so we are lucky to be able to read what they were reading six centuries ago. Some examples are:

  • 'The Good Huswife's Handmaid for Cookerie in her Kitchen', a recipe book from 1588.
  • Story books that featured sprites, fairies and nymphs, and romantic tales of chivalry.
  • Embroidery pattern books published in Germany were available from 1550 onwards.
  • Herbals and bestiaries illustrated with woodcut prints.
  • 'How to' books for farming, gardening, and fishing.
So there is a lot of scope for you to make your own books for a miniature Tudor setting. What will you choose?



  1. Hi Wendy! Thanks for the info. It's all very interesting. However, I do not have a Tudor dollhouse. I do love the period, though, and I have read a ton of novels taking place in that era. If I were to do a book, I would do a cookbook. I have an affinity for novels where they do a lot of cooking and I adore movies where they cook. For that reason, I love Babette's Feast and still watch it from time to time.

    1. You must enjoy putting together your dolls house kitchen, Lucille. I've got a Mrs Beeton's Cookbook in my Edwardian dolls house kitchen. It's another one of Barbara Brear's. Movies and food - mmm, a good combination!