Bocca chair

Brio Jacobsen Barcelona chair

Panton chair Egg chair and stool


Playing House: Dolls' Houses 1957 - 2007

7 October 2008 - 26 January 2009
Open Collection

Anna-Maria collects contemporary dolls’ houses and miniatures in both 1/12 and 1/16 scales. Most of her dolls’ houses are European, and
six of those on display are by the Swedish manufacturer Lundby. Other brands include
Brio, Caroline’s Home, Lisa of Denmark,
Tri-ang and Tomy.


Iver Bengtsson, a Swedish basket maker in the late 1800s, expanded his company to produce wooden toys in the early 1900s. He transferred the company to his three sons in 1908, and the following year they registered it as BRIO (the Brothers Ivarsson Osby). The company expanded its range of products to include everything from glassware to textiles, but it has always included toys. The company continued to be run by family members until it was acquired by Proventus AB in 2004.

Caroline’s Home:

Although A. Barton & Co., a British toy company, had been making dolls’ house furniture since the end of WWII as a way of giving employment to demobilised British soldiers, their Caroline’s Home dolls’ house wasn’t produced until 1976. It was designed by the company to directly combat Lundby’s market dominance. Lundby acquired Barton Toys in 1984, evolving the design until it closely resembled the Lundby houses.

Caroline’s Homes were distinctive, featuring yellow doors and window shutters and with a large ‘C’ and ‘H’ (accompanied by pictures of a chicken and horse) on the wall in the upstairs bedroom.

Lisa of Denmark:

Lisa was a Danish firm which manufactured dolls’ houses, furniture and accessories in the 1960s. Their dolls’ houses shared a similar structure to the Lundby houses, but the sunken room and balcony were on the left hand side rather than the right. Lisa was acquired by the Lundby company in the early 1980s.


Tomy was founded in 1924 by Eichiro Tomiyama in Tokyo, Japan. They marketed the Tomy Smaller Homes and Gardens range of products in the 1980s.


Tri-ang Toys was founded in London by three brothers from a toy-making family, William, Arthur and Walter Lines. Eager to start their own company they established Lines Brothers Limited in 1919 and started producing toys designed by Walter. With the company expanding, the brothers registered their brand name as Tri-ang Toys, derived from the fact that a triangle is made up of three lines (three Lines brothers).

After decades of success and the acquisition of many other toy companies around the world, the Lines Brothers’ empire collapsed in 1971. However, their individual brands were sold off to other companies and as a result the Tri-ang name continues to be used for some products.

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