Georgian Dolls Houses – How to Achieve a Genuine Georgian House Style

Influences and style

To achieve a genuine Georgian house style when building or decorating your own Georgian dolls house it is important to understand the influences and style during this period which spanned from 1714 to about 1830. During the Georgian period people really began taking an interest in fashion and interiors. The upper classes would often enjoy a Grand Tour of Europe for a year or two and during this time were heavily influenced by the fashion & interior design they saw on their travels. This influence also extended to the design and style of the Georgian dolls house. Other major influences included the architecture of Inigo Jones and the Orient.

The style of the time was all about delicate colour schemes and woodwork, dainty furniture, harmony, balance and a sense of light and airiness to the rooms.

Characteristics of a Georgian dolls house

The most popular color schemes evolved from the heavier burgundy, sage green and blue greys of the early Georgian period to much lighter greens, sky blues and dusky pinks. Floors of Georgian houses were typically bare boards covered with Oriental rugs. Or, if the property was more up market, the floor would have been a pale colored stone or marble.

For a genuine Georgian effect dolls house walls should be paneled up to the dado rail and then painted or papered above.

Repetitive patterns in wallpaper such as trefoils and far eastern designs were very popular. Wallpaper also reflected the trend for block printing towards the end of the Georgian era and featured simple, bold geometric patterns such as squares and stripes.

Cotton with a delicate floral pattern was the fabric of choice for soft furnishings . It was important to match the sofas, armchairs and curtains, and the latter were often adorned with pagoda style pelmets. Often armchairs and divans were protected with loose covers made from cheap, striped linen and these were removed for entertaining on special occasions. Georgian lighting featured chandeliers made from glass, metal and wood, as well as brass, silver, or silvered wood wall lights. In less expensive properties light fittings were often pewter or tin.

Furniture was delicate, for example wing chairs and chairs with hoop or shield backs.

The Georgians loved their fireplaces and the grander the house the more elegant and eye-catching the fireplace! Carved surrounds with swags and shells were an indication of wealth and status. Ornaments and pictures would usually be grouped around the fireplace to emphasize the importance of the fireplace as the focal point of the room.

Moldings on the ceilings often consisted of elaborate ribbons and swags, classical figures and urns.

Georgian front doors generally had central knobs positioned at waist height and no letterboxes. There was often a filigree fanlight with a canopy and pediments. Original Georgian properties had sash windows and shutters.

Find out more about Georgian dolls houses and miniatures at Julie-Ann’s Dolls Houses

Fashion and Style

Early Western travelers, traveling whether to Persia, Turkey, India, or China, would frequently remark on the absence of change in fashion in the respective places. The Japanese Shogun’s secretary bragged (not completely accurately) to a Spanish visitor in 1609 that Japanese clothing had not changed in over a thousand years.However, there is considerable evidence in Ming China of rapidly changing fashions in Chinese clothing. Changes in costume often took place at times of economic or social change, as occurred in ancient Rome and the medieval Caliphate, followed by a long period without major changes. In 8th-century Moorish Spain, the musician Ziryab introduced to Córdoba sophisticated clothing-styles based on seasonal and daily fashions from his native Baghdad, modified by his own inspiration.

Similar changes in fashion occurred in the 11th century in the Middle East following the arrival of the Turks, who introduced clothing styles from Central Asia and the Far East. The beginning in Europe of continual and increasingly rapid change in clothing styles can be fairly reliably dated. Historians, including James Laver and Fernand Braudel, date the start of Western fashion in clothing to the middle of the 14th century, though it should be noted that they tend to rely heavily on contemporary imagery and illuminated manuscripts were not common before the fourteenth century. The most dramatic early change in fashion was a sudden drastic shortening and tightening of the male over-garment from calf-length to barely covering the buttocks, sometimes accompanied with stuffing in the chest to make it look bigger. This created the distinctive Western outline of a tailored top worn over leggings or trousers. The pace of change accelerated considerably in the following century, and women and men’s fashion, especially in the dressing and adorning of the hair, became equally complex.

Art historians are therefore able to use fashion with confidence and precision to date images, often to within five years, particularly in the case of images from the 15th century. Initially, changes in fashion led to a fragmentation across the upper classes of Europe of what had previously been a very similar style of dressing and the subsequent development of distinctive national styles. These national styles remained very different until a counter-movement in the 17th to 18th centuries imposed similar styles once again, mostly originating from Ancien Régime France. Though the rich usually led fashion, the increasing affluence of early modern Europe led to the bourgeoisie and even peasants following trends at a distance, but still uncomfortably close for the elites – a factor that Fernand Braudel regards as one of the main motors of changing fashion.