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Unique Dolls House Fetches £3,000 at Auction

01/05/2010 There are some incredibly large and detailed dolls houses on the traditional toys market, featuring exquisite workmanship and made with world-class materials, but even these would be hard-pressed to compete with the 24-room masterpiece that recently fetched some £3,000 at a Gloucestershire auction.

The unique model is a scale replica of Bourton House, a Grade-II listed country manor at Bourton-on-the-Hill in the Cotswolds, and features an authentically opulent staircase, exquisitely detailed murals on the interior walls and floors inlaid with tiny flagstones. In fact, the interior of the model 18th Century manor is as close to the real thing as anyone could get.

The dolls house was made by expert toymaker Ellie Yannas after meeting the then owner of Bourton House, Richard Paice, at a craft fair back in 1985. He challenged the craftswoman to create an exact copy of his house - right down to the Eighties-style fitted kitchen.

Ms Yannas took the necessary measurements in a visit to Bourton House before returning to her south London studio and spending nearly seven years making the scale replica, which stands around 1.17 metres high and 1.52 metres wide.

Bourton House was originally built upon the remains of a Tudor building which was rumoured to have been built by Alexander Popham, the grandson of Oliver Cromwell's trusted general Sir Francis Popham.

The incredible item went under the hammer at Prinknash Abbey Park on April 24. Iona Sale of Chorley's auction house told the BBC: "It is an opportunity to acquire a Cotswold manor house for a fraction of the price."

"It could appeal to dolls' house lovers but we are talking about a big piece of furniture here. You need a big area to position it. It is just a wonderful, whimsical thing to have."

For anyone who does not quite have the several thousand pounds necessary to purchase a dolls house quite as grand as the replica Bourton House, there are still a huge variety of amazing toys on the market, of all shapes, sizes and prices.

Dolls houses are based on buildings from the Georgian and Victorian periods, as well as 20th and 21st century house designs. Just like real houses, they can be furnished or unfurnished and can even feature such extras as basements. Dolls houses are primarily a toy for girls, but boys can have just as much fun with toy castles.

There are many people who also make their own dolls houses, whether for sale, or just as a hobby. There is a whole community of enthusiasts out there, with their own websites, magazines and trade fairs.


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