01 April 2022
Decorate your dolls house in a style to entice even the pickiest of Jane Austen's heroines. Jane Kubiesa reveals the best of the Regency miniatures...
With a more defined taste than the earlier Georgian period, Regency was a time for minimalism and simplicity. Furnishing tended to be sparse and was limited to tables and seating in reception rooms. The overriding influences came from Greek classicism and from Egypt, and these were the only elaborate touches in an era which valued a less-is-more approach. Bring the same Regency stylings to your miniature dolls house with our guide to the classics of the period.
Please note – listed products are there for inspiration and may no longer be available.
1. Grecian sofa
With low arms, stuffed seat and back, classically inspired scrolls, the Grecian sofa was placed at the heart of the drawing room. Usually upholstered in pale silk fabrics, and with delicate legs with inward curves. This 1/12th scale sofa is by David Booth, from Karon Cunningham Miniatures.
2. Revolving bookcase
In an age where wall space was prized as a decorative surface for panelling and for the hanging of paintings, wall-mounted bookcases were an inconvenience, so the revolving bookcase was the designer touch to have. This mahogany version is made from a Jane Harrop kit.
A bookcase needs books! Learn how to make miniature books in our step-by-step tutorial.
3. Morgan & Sanders chair
Morgan & Sanders were furniture makers patronised by various Royals. They offered progressive furniture design for fashionable interiors. Their chairs were sought-after and they ranged from plain rush-seated models for the dining room to more lavishly upholstered versions for the drawing room. This white Regency carver chair is from the Dolls House Emporium. Sometimes called easy chairs, because ladies had ditched the huge hooped skirts in favour of the new slim line dresses and could fit into them.
4. Pembroke table
The elegance of the Pembroke table gelled with Regency notions of simplicity. Its fold-out flaps meant it was versatile and also had a handy drawer for storage. Sheraton or Hepplewite were popular designers of this model, and it often had hand painted or veneered decoration. It could be used for playing cards, reading, or taking tea. This beautiful miniature version is made in mahogany by renowned miniature furniture maker Colin Bird.
5. Window seat
Since Regency windows were floor-to-ceiling height, it seemed a shame to let the view go to waste. Thus the free-standing window seat was born, the ideal place for a wistful Austen heroine to perch upon. With heavily padded seat and characteristic inward curves to the legs, some models were also painted or gilded for a little more luxury. This version is made by JBM Miniatures.
6. Work table
Similiar in construction to other tables of the period, the work table was designed to blend into any room. It had a pleated silk bag hanging underneath so that ladies could store their embroidery or even, like Jane Austen herself, the miniatures they were working on. The top of the table lifted up or slid out to allow easy access. This version is from the Dolls House Emporium.
7. Grecian couch
The Grecian couch was the Regency equivalent of the day bed, but unlike its more feminine counterpart, it could be found in all parts of the home. Popular thought at the time held that the library was the ideal spot for the Grecian couch because a man could make use of it once he had become fatigued by studying! This beautiful miniature example is made by David Booth, from Karon Cunningham Miniatures.
8. Convex mirror
The convex mirror was a firm favourite in Regency homes. It enabled the viewer to see what was happening in a room without having to stare at any action directly. Also known as the chaperone glass, the mirror could be used by a lady's chaperone to ensure a proper visit from a gentleman, and was also employed in dining rooms so footmen no longer had to stand at the shoulder of guests to see when glasses needed refilling. This eagle convex mirror comes from the Little House at the Priory.
9. The classical urn
No classical decor could be complete with an urn or two. The most common uses were to stand atop a pedestal cabinet either side of a dining room sideboard. A less savoury use of the urn was as a chamber pot, stashed behind a curtain once the ladies had retired. These lidded urns are from the studio of miniature artisan Victoria Fasken and come in green, red, dark and light blue colourways from Karon Cunningham Miniatures.
10. George Smith drawing room chair
Any fancy of the Prince Regent was sure to make its way into fashionable homes, and the Egyptian styled drawing room chair by George Smith was no exception. Smith, a furniture designer for the Royal Pavillion in Brighton, added lion head detailing to the arms of this chair and lion feet to the legs. This fabulous miniature example is made by the workshop of Carole Clarke at Dolls House Interior. Carole finishes this resin chair in gold leaf, red leather and gold brading for a touch of luxury.
Next, learn how to upholster your miniatures as part of our A-Z miniatures crafts series!