They loved that day at Spitalfields Open Gardens. Sitting in the beautiful garden of the Rectory of Christ Church was indeed heavenly, with the church towering above them. Friendly chatter with the little band playing in the corner. A perfect English country garden party in the middle of London’s East End.
“I have a Dolls House” said Gill. “It’s my hobby.”
“Oh.” said Bobby. “Would it be possible to see it?”
“Of course” said Gill.
And so we did. Bewick came too.
The Dolls House is wonderful. Fittingly Georgian, given where we first heard about it.
The problem was that Bobby couldn’t stop talking (no really) and didn’t pay enough attention to the reason why he had gone. It was only when he got home and saw the photographs that he realised what a triumph of creativity this miniature world represents.
A feeling of admiration for the patience and delicate positioning of all the interiors of each of the rooms. Some items acquired on the internet. Some at Dolls House fairs and the like. And some made by Gill herself. Over to Gill.
“When I was young, I always wanted a Dolls House, but never got one. My sister and I did have plastic room boxes that fitted together. But they were not like a real house.
Many years later, a magazine was produced that periodically would enable you to create your own Dolls House. I took on the challenge, and that was the start to what you now see. It’s not finished, and probably never will be, for that would defeat the purpose of an all absorbing hobby. I like hobbies and this has been really special. Even knitting many of the clothes on tiny needles.”
Bertie: “For me, the knitting was the most amazing thing of all. Tiny little jumpers and trousers. Even a little girl sitting on the outside toilet with knitted minute knickers round her knees! To be fair to Bobby and his dodgy eyesight, it was probably only possible to see and wonder how she did it by photographing each room and magnifying them to really see what is in those rooms.”
Talking to Gill, I started to realise that there is far more to this Dolls House than first meets the eye. She is writing a story through an imaginary family who all appear, or will do, in the various rooms and outbuildings of the Dolls House. Once again over to Gill.
“Grandma, the lady in the kitchen, is Daisy. She is married to Grandpa, Olivier Petit. Their daughter, Rose Wilde, is visiting with baby Willow. The other two children are their cousins Poppy (in the loo) and Pippin who are also visiting.
As and when I get more dolls, I will add them to the family or put them in one of my room boxes. I decided on this background for my family so that I can add what furniture and accessories I like to the scene without having to worry about being historically correct.”
Lighting a Candle for Diddley