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Sunday, 27 September 2015

Small Worlds Exhibition in Bath

At the end of August Laura took a day trip to Bath.  She wanted to see the Small Worlds Exhibition which is currently (until early November 2015) being hosted at No 1 Royal Crescent in Bath.  

The Royal Crescent, Bath. No 1 Royal Crescent is on the right
Laura was interested to see what No 1 was like in 1772.  The dolls house exhibition in 2015 is on display in the top floor of the little annex building on the right
Laura liked the model of No 1 Royal Crescent
No photography was allowed in the Small Worlds dolls house exhibition as Lisa Antrim who had collected all the amazing dolls houses and miniatures did not given permission for the public to take photos, though Laura noticed that another person going around the exhibition was taking photos even though there were no photography signs everywhere.  The houses and miniatures on display were fascinating.
After visiting the dolls house exhibition Laura and her friend did the children's trail around No 1 Royal Crescent to find out what life was like 250 years ago in the very fashionable city of Bath
In the gentleman's room there were lots of interesting scientific objects including a telescope which Laura tried
Laura also discovered the globe in the Gentleman's room
In the dining room of No 1 Royal Crescent was one dollshouse from the Small Worlds exhibition which could be photographed, apparently because it contains no furniture. This was Swallowcliffe c1826-1830
Swallowcliffe, with its doors propped open 
Upstairs in the guest room for a Lady was a marquetry table.  Laura was interested to see the miniature grandfather clock on the table
Apparently the main pastime of Bath society was gambling, people were obsessed with it and even played gambling games in their bedrooms
This sewing table would have been used by the Lady's maid to make alterations or repairs to the Lady's gowns.  There was no wardrobe in the bedroom, all gowns were kept in a room upstairs and brought down for the Lady or Gentleman to choose.
Fine embroidered clothes laid out on the Lady's guest bed
The Lady's guest bed
The Lady's dressing table and wig.  Apparently they also had long sticks to scratch their heads through the wigs.  Why did they need to scratch?  Because everyone was infested with headlice!
It was fashionable to come to Bath and rent a house or rooms for several weeks rather than own a town house and a country house.  No 1 Royal Crescent was one such house so there would have been few personally owned items or family portraits on display.
The house keeper's room - she was the most powerful servant in the house
In 18th century kitchens every able bodied creature was used to provide power, this was a dog driven wheel for turning the roasting spit.
A dog driven wheel for turning the roasting spit
In the Servant's room in the basement is a large (modern) Georgian dollshouse which has been decorated during 2015 in a project with a local primary school and Age Concern, who were taught how to make a variety of miniatures by expert miniaturists.  The project is called Miniature Mania: small worlds, big discoveries.  You can read all about it at  The children and adults were guided to make particular objects for the house (such as paintings, miniature food, doll making, the rocking horse and wallpapering).  Apparently the project continues in the new school year as more children from St Andrew's school are helping to decorate smaller dolls houses together with the group from Age Concern.  I think every school in the country should have a project like this!
The notice explaining about the Small Worlds dollshouse project
Laura was very pleased to see the Small Worlds dollshouse project house, now complete and on display
Laura was good to stand behind the barrier as the notice requested even though she wanted to get much closer to the house to peer inside
A portrait gallery in the house
The nursery
The children's bedroom
The gentleman in his bedroom
The top landing
The Lady in her bedroom
The grand central staircase
The kitchen
Laura was impressed with the size of the house and how much happy teamwork went into decorating it
There were some dollshouses for young children to play with in the Servant's hall
After she visited No 1 Royal Crescent Laura went to see Bath Abbey.  There was a visiting choir rehearsing for Evensong with the organ and Laura enjoyed listening to the music as she explored the Abbey.
Bath Abbey with the visiting choir
Bath Abbey with the visiting choir and the organ
After exploring inside Bath Abbey and buying a badge from the shop Laura stood outside the west end of the Abbey on the busy pavement near the Roman Baths (which she did not visit).
Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths
The Small Worlds exhibition at No 1 Royal Crescent is open until 8 November 2015.  It is well worth visiting.  There are 10 dollshouses from the private collection of Lisa Antrim on display including Fry House and Bellamy House.  In the shop at No 1 Royal Crescent was a wonderful book by Lisa called "Family Dolls' Houses of the 18th and 19th Centuries" however it was too large to carry around all day and Laura's budget didn't stretch to purchasing a signed copy of the wonderful book.  It contains beautiful photos of all the houses in the collection plus a wealth of research and restoration expertise.  Laura bought the set of postcards featuring each house in the exhibition instead.


Kendal said...

Another super and educational visit for Laura and her real life family! Such a wealth of knowledge listed here.

I'm most impressed with those St. Andrews school children, under adult guidance, helping to design and make the room's furniture and putting into practice all that they have learnt about this very regal English 1772 period and, as has been proved in all hands-on projects, one that they will never easily forget.

I have been lucky enough to visit the Royal Baths there and can well recommend a visit when you are next in that area.
The Royal Crescent is absolutely stunning in its design and architecture....just imagine living there......makes me rather sad when I see the majority of our buildings of today.

Must have been extra special with that visiting choir singing as you looked round the Cathedral.
I remember taking my class of children to Liverpool Catholic Catherdral during Lent one year to walk the Stations of the Cross, join in with The Angelist at midday, go to confession and finally sing three modern hymns before heading off to have our late picnic lunch on the Banks of the River Mersey.... which was naturally followed by several renderings of the Beatle's 'Yellow Submarine' before boarding the coach again.

Dee said...

What a wonderful place to visit. Laura looks like she had a lovely time checking out all the dollhouses and looking round the grand house.
I love dolls houses and also Bath, so may try to see if I can fit in a visit before the exhibition ends, would be a shame to miss it.So thank you Laura for the information.

Serenata said...

What a wonderful fun place to visit, so much to look at and admire and drool over! So many pictures to look at as well - thank you! Each time I look at them I see something different.

Might have to see if we can get a chance to visit here.

Ginger said...

A beautiful post of the trip to Bath to see the doll houses. What a gorgeous house and it is so interesting to see how people lived before us. Laura looks wonderful and like she is having the best of times. She is learning a lot on her travels and one lesson she learned this time is that not everyone follows the rules! I am still surprised when I see someone disregarding clearly posted signs and their messages. Thank you for sharing the trip with us. I really enjoyed the photos and will look again! :) xxx

DollMum said...

Kendal, I visited the Roman Baths at Bath when I was 16 with my sister and my grandparents while on a 3 week trip to England a very long time ago. I would like to take the family to see them however this trip was definitely for the Small Worlds exhibition. We did poke our heads into the pump room to point out the fountain where you can take the Bath water (which is definitely not a flavour I enjoyed!). The Royal Crescent was fascinating, one photo I didn't share was of the yellow door half way along the crescent (it is apparently now grade listed so cannot be changed), we also saw a wedding couple having their photos taken at the other end of the crescent.
I agree, it is interesting to see how others lived before us, the dollshouses certainly helped show different eras (they were of various different periods) and No 1 reflected its period very well. I'm glad I didn't live then, the lifestyle would not have suited me at all.

jSarie said...

What a fantastic exhibition to see. Thanks for sharing these photos from it! :)