The first doll house, until new evidence is found, was built in the XVI century, in 1158, and it was a present ordered by the Duke of Bavaria, Albrecht V, for his daughter.
The first doll house, until new evidence is found, was built in the XVI century, in 1158, and it was a present ordered by the Duke of Bavaria, Albrecht V, for his daughter. But were there doll houses before? The truth is that when we visit any museum from prehistorical and ancient times we are surprised to see miniature objects on display. They are usually items of daily use, such as pots. Archaeologists and historians usually classify these objects as votive, but this may be because they do not have young children.
It is known that innocent toys have been found in Neanderthal caves. On the first floor of the Mérida Museum (Spain) there is a collection of miniatures that imitate dressing table objects. These objects date from I A.D. Are they toys or votive objects? Maybe we will know one day. As we have already said, until new evidence is found, the North of Europe is considered to be the birthplace of doll houses. English doll houses appeared at the beginning of the XVIII century. American doll houses appeared at the end of the same century. In the Mediterranean area doll houses were not so common.
The first doll houses were not toys for children, since they were exclusive and expensive objects. European royalty had a taste for houses that represent a life they could not live. The Russian tsar Peter The Great fell in love with a doll house he saw in Holland and ordered to build one (task that took 5 years). It is also known the passion that Queen Victoria felt for doll houses, not to mention Queen Mary that hired the services of artisans and artists to build her doll house.
In 1878 the president Hayes ordered to build a doll house for his ten-year-old daughter Fanny in the White House. This doll house, which was restored in the 1950s by a president’s great-grandson, can be seen in a museum.
Although they are small pieces of art, doll houses have not always been treated like that. Some of them have been broken, burned or even thrown out in the rubbish. The oldest doll house we can see nowadays dates from 1611 and represents an urban house in Nuremberg. It contains a cellar, a wine cellar, as well as a small garden on the first floor. The adult nature of the house together with the exclusive objects it contains suggests it was not a children toy.