Friday, 26 February 2016

Queen Mary doll's house linens by The Old Bleach Linen Company

We have a very small collection of miniature linens made in N.Ireland, housed at our local museum, the Lisburn Linen Centre. I have been meaning to get photos of these for a good while now, finally got around to it. Please excuse the poor quality in my photos, they keep the lighting very, very low to preserve the fabrics.  You can right click on an image and open in a new tab if you want to get a closer look.

The following text is transcribed from the information boards at the display. (everything in "..")

"Doll's houses have always been a toy for the wealthy as well as a plaything for children. One of the best known is Queen Mary's doll's house which was designed for her in the 1920s by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the noted architect. Built in 1/12 scale, the house was furnished throughout by British Craftsmen and manufacturers. The doll's house was intended as a token of national goodwill and to provide a means of raising funds for charity.  For this purpose it was exhibited at the British Empire exhibition in 1934. It is now on display in Windsor Castle."

"Miniature items prepared for Queen Mary's doll's house. 
Woven by The Old Bleach Linen Company, Randalstown, Co. Antrim. 
Given by Mrs C. W. Bingley, London, 1995"

Image courtesy of, hope they don't mind me borrowing it... Don't be fooled, our view of the sun rarely looks like that :D

"These linen sheets and pillowcases, diaper and huck towelling and household cloths were for the use of a miniature royal household and it's servants. Those for the personal use of the royal family of dolls had the hand embroidered cypher of George V while the items with the red markings were to be used by the servants of the royal household"

To help with scale, the box is 10 x 3.5 cm.

Bed linen

Bed linen detail


"These miniature Irish damask tablecloths and napkins were intended for use when the doll royal family held luncheon or dinner parties"

Tablecloth and a box of napkins on the right. These are just beautiful in person!

Tablecloth and napkin. True colour.

You can see the pattern a bit better in this one.

In the comment section, Sharon asked a good question about how these came to be in my local museum and not in the Queen Mary's dollshouse, and wondering about the scale. Unfortunately I had no way of showing scale in the photos, now with dimensions for the box this should help. 
I found two links, which shows that the company sold the miniature household linen to the general public. They used the association with the Queen's dollshouse, as a sort of Royal warrant of appointment, as evidenced on the packaging...."They are made by the Old Bleach Linen co.Ltd of Randalstown,Northen Ireland-who made all the house hold linen for the Queens dolls house-you can always write to them about anything to do with linen" Rather tempted to write to them, if they are still around.

Worth having a look at it, if you are interested in vintage miniatures. 

I doubt the damask tablecloths were available to buy, from what I have found online...

Thanks Sharon! I'm pleased to have this new information added to the post :)

And I'm away again, I have neglected everyone's blogs, apologies for that, will be back soon! :D