In the 17th century, dolls’ houses were highly prized and hand-crafted objects made for very wealthy adults. Some houses were also used as learning aids to show girls how to run a household. By the nineteenth century both hand made and manufactured examples had become popular as children’s toys.

Today we can learn a lot about how people used to live by looking into these miniature worlds. The Museum holds a collection of around 100 dolls’ houses, models and shops. The earliest is the Nuremberg house of 1673, and 21st century examples include the Kaleidoscope house. Some of the houses such as the Tate Baby house are the most famous and best loved objects in the museum.

The Nuremberg House

The Nuremberg House

This house was made in Nuremberg in 1673 - the date is written on the chimney. It is the oldest house in the Museum.

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The Denton Welch dolls' house

The Denton Welch dolls' house

This house is named after Denton Welch, a famous artist and writer born in Shanghai in 1915.

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Mrs Bryant's Pleasure

Mrs Bryant's Pleasure

Mrs Bryant lived in a house in Surbiton, Surrey called Oakenshaw and wanted to make a miniature record of the interior of her home.

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Tri-ang dolls' house

Tri-ang dolls' house

These houses were of the highest quality and were built to last. The wallpapers were specially-printed miniatures of contemporary designs.

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The Modern dolls' house

The Modern dolls' house

This is one of a group of dolls' houses made by the company Lines Bros. of Merton, Surrey whose trademark was Tri-ang.

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Miss Miles' dolls' house

Miss Miles' dolls' house

Made in 1890 for a little girl called Amy Miles, this house contains some of the latest domestic technology of the time.

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Devonshire Villas

Devonshire Villas

This house is a model of a house in Kilburn High Road, North London, which no longer exists.

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Princess Elizabeth's Little House

Princess Elizabeth's Little House

This is a model of the Welsh cottage-style playhouse which was presented to Queen Elizabeth on her sixth birthday in 1932 by the people of Wales.

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The Jessie M. King House

The Jessie M. King House

Jessie M. King was one of the Glasgow School of artists in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. This house was made for an exhibition by the artist.

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Mrs Hibberd's House

Mrs Hibberd's House

In 1965 Mrs Winifred Alice Hibberd bought it from a shop in London for £60. She spent 14 years restoring and furnishing it.

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Bettiscombe dolls' house

Bettiscombe dolls' house

Bettiscombe can be seen as a portrait of life in a wealthy household from the late 19th to early 20th centuries.

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Tate Baby House

Tate Baby House

Made in about 1760, this house comes apart in several sections so that the owner could take it on her travels.

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The Killer Cabinet dolls' house

The Killer Cabinet dolls' house

An elegant example of a dolls' house in a cabinet, made in the early 1800s, commissioned by a Manchester doctor, Dr John Killer.

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The Kaleidoscope House

The Kaleidoscope House

The Kaleidoscope House was designed by Peter Wheelwright, a New York architect who designed a number of homes for New York artists.

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The V&A online shop stocks a distinctive and refreshingly different range for children, big and little, then and now, including toys, games, books and accessories.

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Tel: +44 (0)20 8983 5200 | V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA