Are you a crafter, a collector, or a proprietor? In this series of three articles we will take a look at a typical collection of dollhouse miniatures. This is not a large, lifetime collection from a wealthy connoisseur. Mrs. Risley is a very typical fan of The House of Miniatures™, perhaps much like you.
In late 1979, with her young children attending school, Mrs. Risley found that she had time available to enjoy a hobby. An ad for a beautiful, miniature Chippendale chest of drawers caught her eye. Like so many of us , she was enthralled. She cut a corner out of a magazine and mailed away for her first kit.
She enjoyed her hobby greatly. Her little girl was excited about the pretty furniture her mother was making. Her husband supported her in her constructive hobby. Within a year he purchased and built a dollhouse kit.
The miniatures hobby continued to hold Mrs. Risley’s interest for several years. She visited local shops, attended a local miniatures show, and made some mail order purchases over the years.
While decorating the house, she even tried her hand at miniature needlework items. Her hobby might have continued to grow, but a late blessing came in the form of a fourth child.
With little time for hobbies in the busy house, the collection of miniatures was put away. Soon there was a move in support of her husband’s career. Then health complications for her young child. And, as way leads on to way, the miniatures never came out of storage.
Mrs. Risley had stayed in the Collector Club for several years. Eventually receiving about 80 kits in all. She built over 30 of them and opened a few others. She decorated the dollhouse extensively. But eventually, everything went into storage, including magazines, empty kit boxes, instruction sheets, and lots of little miniature items.
Here is a gallery of pictures that show the whole collection as I received it. There is also a video where I quickly capture everything. The gallery shows the condition, which is not pristine. As often happens, a kitten wreaked havoc on the dollhouse and broke up some of the furniture.
Plans for the Risley Collection
As I said, this is not a remarkable collection. It is a large, typical collection of a hobbyist. It is not something to preserve, but it is something worth recording. Our stories matter, not because they are exceptional, but because they are real. I connect much more with the Risley Collection than with some museum display.
The house needs to be rebuilt, which I will do. I will also repair and polish the finished furniture. I want to capture what things looked like when the love of the hobby brought them to life. Once done and photographed I will not be able to hold onto it all. It will likely be parted out at that point.
But first I will do a more detailed article on The House of Miniatures kits and accessories. I’ll also do an article on the house and the non-THoM miniatures. Later, maybe a year from now, I’ll do a final article covering the repairs and final disposition of the Risley Collection.
What About Your Collection?
Did you collect The House of Miniatures kits back in the day and then store them away? I did, with 30 years in between. Have you recorded your collection for posterity? I’ve just created a special section in The House of Miniatures Facebook Group where you can share pictures and stories about your collection of tiny furniture.