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Antiques Considered - September 19, 2012

 

A lady in Lancaster County inherited this miniature armoire from her mother, who collected antiques throughout her lifetime.  The primary wood is walnut and the secondary is poplar.  The mirror is original, as is the finish.  It is 15 inches high.  The owner has found no identifying signature or label for the maker.

This piece is a veritable gem of an antique.  The Empire to Victorian design is excellent that the condition is quite good, especially when one considers that children have played with the armoire as a toy.  The finials are well turned, as are the small knobs on the drawers.  Overall, the design is one of the best that I have seen.

Miniature furniture is always popular, and sells well both in shops and at auction.  This piece could have been a salesman’s sample or it could be the product of a talented father making a toy for his daughter.  It dates from the 1850s, being transitional from the American Empire Period to the Victorian.  It is probably of mid-Atlantic origin.

It is too large to have been a piece of dollhouse furniture, unless the dollhouse scale was huge, but it could have been part of a single room setting, thereby allowing a little girl to play with arranging the furniture.   On today’s market this piece is worth $350, almost as much as the full-scale model of one would be.  The enthusiasm for miniature furniture continues to grow, and good examples such as this one command excellent prices, particularly at miniature-oriented auctions.

The most famous dollhouse was that of Queen Mary, the consort of King George V of England.  She amassed an enormous collection of furniture that filled her dollhouse mansion, all fitted together in perfect scale.  A similar, but smaller, one belonged to the Duchess of Marlborough, both of which remain popular tourist sites in Britain today.

 

Contact Lisa or Henry Lane Hull (804) 580-3301; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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