Five pieces of miniature furniture by Evans Cartwright, £3600 at Chiswick Auctions.

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The valuable cache was discovered by Chiswick Auctions (25% buyer’s premium) in a jam-packed 1930s bungalow in Poole. The 180-lot collection totalled £50,000,
attracting competition from more than 1000 registered bidders.

The owner had been something of an obsessive collector of miniatures. Her modest home was filled with her extensive collection. She kept a ledger detailing where and when the items were purchased – most it seems were from auctions on the south coast between 2000-08 – plus an extensive archive of auction catalogues from Sotheby’s, Christies, Bonhams that had been used for reference.

In her will, she stipulated the contents of house should be sold by Chiswick Auctions with the proceeds going to the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home rather than surviving family.

The collection was sold as part of an Interiors, Homes and Antiques sale on November 29. Of particular interest was a series of pressed and painted tinplate dollhouse furnishings made by some of the leading British and German makers of the 19th century.

They include pieces by the Wolverhampton toymaker Evans and Cartwright, the celebrated firm of Rock and Graner of Goppingen and the clutch of workshops making gilt decorated dollhouse furniture in the Thuringian town of Waltershausen.

A lot comprising five pieces of miniature furniture by Evans Cartwright (1816-80) – a hand-painted yellow washstand with painted floral decoration; a japanned circular table; a japanned side table; a white stick stand and an armchair – guided at £600-800 sold to a private buyer at £3600.


Grodnertal doll pin-cushion, £1400 at Chiswick Auctions.

Collection centrepiece

The centrepiece of the collection was a ‘Normandy’ style dollhouse thought to have been made in Germany for the French market around 1880.

The eight rooms were fully furnished in miniature with all manner of items from fireplaces and mirrors to chandeliers and chests-of drawers. A kitchen stocked with tiny pottery jelly moulds, casserole dishes, pewter tankards and serving dishes was centred by a pine table while the hall, including a floral-painted chest and a pedestal table with revolving top, was dressed with a miniature Hardy fishing rod and reel and tiny portraits in the manner of Holbein.

Guided at £800-1000, the house attracted bidding from a UK private buyer who secured it at £6500.


Late 19th century dollhouse in the style of Moritz Gottschalk, £3400 at Chiswick Auctions.

A late 19th century dollhouse in the style of Moritz Gottschalk of Erzgebirge, Germany, sold for £3400 to a Switzerland-based private buyer against an estimate of £200-300. Of particular note among the furnishings was a rare suite of Walterhausen French style furniture printed in the so-called ‘White Boulle’ pattern.

Tiny book


Miniature book titled Schloss’s English Bijou Almanac, £550 at Chiswick Auctions.

Other miniature objects included a tiny leather-bound printed book titled Schloss’s English Bijou Almanac for 1839. Housed in in red baize case with a miniature magnifying glass, the book made £550 (guide £100-200), while a painted wooden doll pin-cushion of the type associated with Grodnertal, Germany, c.1820-30, sold to a US based private buyer at £1400.