Eero Arnio chair

Eames la chaise Jacobsen egg chair

Barcelona-chair VintageTomy dolls house

Playing House: Contemporary Dolls' Houses 1957 - 2007

7 October 2008 - 26 January 2009
Open Collection

Dolls’ house collector, Anna-Maria Sviatko, was ten years old when she ‘adopted’ a homemade dolls’ house from a neighbour’s shed. The local (Christchurch NZ) library aided and abetted her considerable imagination and when she found a copy of The Dolls’ House DIY Book (1982) by Martin Dodge, cluttered Victorian and country dolls’ houses were replaced with dreams of contemporary dolls’ houses with bright yellow kitchen cupboards full of ‘mod cons’. Twenty years later in March 2003, the world of eBay opened a portal and Anna-Maria bought that bright yellow kitchen she had dreamed of.

In five years Anna-Maria has massed a considerable collection, fourteen of which are on display. Eight are from Sweden, six Lundby and two Brio; Kaleidoscope and Tomy are from USA; Caroline and Tri-ang are made in the UK; the Lisa is from Denmark and the Vero from Germany. The houses behind the glass doors are wired; their lights may be turned on by pressing the switch on the far right and left of the cases.

Across time and place we readily identify with domestic settings; from ancient Roman villas, to the round houses in the PNG highlands. We recognise domestic spaces used for sleeping, eating, washing etc. Like mini house museums, Anna Maria’s dolls’ houses are repositories of material culture of the Western era from 1957 - 2007.

Further details

Listen to Anna-Maria Sviatko on 666 ABC Radio

Opening Images

Anna-Maria Sviatko's Blog

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