Altes Haus Dollhouse
I began this project in 1989 - and finished it only in 2004, fifteen years later. The original is a still-extant 1358 building, the Altes Haus, in Bacharach, Germany. I worked only from a single xerox of an old photo of the exterior, plus a book of museum replicas of German renaissance rooms.
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This is what I started with, xeroxed from a book of the early 1920s.
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Built in 1368 and still in use as a restaurant. I have never been there, but this is an Internet photo from 2008.
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Photo by UCLA photographer Reed Hutchinson
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The finished dollhouse in 2004
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The original and the dollhouse. My interpretation is folk art, not a scale model.
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Now for the tour.
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The entry way. The sign, in German Script, reads Yakov's Gasthaus. Yakov is my imaginary inkeeper.
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The fellow standing by the door is advertising Wein, Speisehaus, and Zimmer -- Wine, Restaurant, and Rooms. I found him in an antique store in Ventura. He began life as a Christmas tree ornament.
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That's a statue of a jester inside in the entry way.
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Main room of the inn. The inkeeper (left) is a German doll. The fellow in the cloak I had made by a London dollmaker in 1500s German costume. The armor is a replica of a 16th century German original.
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I made the fireplace from scratch. The ceiling art is from a book of medieval French illuminated manuscripts.
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I am including my floorplans to help you locate the rooms. This is the ground floor.
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Second floor.
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Third floor. Each floor above the first extends further from the building, a German style.
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Fourth floor and fifth floor balcony/loft.
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Painting of Bacharach's Altes Haus
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On with the tour
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Looking in from a front window. Note the stained glass window in the back behind the bar, only visible from this point.
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The kitchen, to serve the guests, is the other principal room on the ground floor.
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The tiles above the fireplace were hand set and grouted.
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Hallway between back door and serving area of main hall.
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Second floor: at the top of the stairs is the inkeeper's office.
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The large window lets him keep track of his guests in the main room below.
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Here he keeps his accounts, and has a flintlock pistol handy just in case.
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Bathroom. Rarelyl seen, as it has no panel to the outside, only a small window.
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Of course the inn had to have a library.
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Notice the ceiling mural.
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We have arrived at the lower of the two tower rooms. This is a game room for the guests.
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We have returned to the inkeeper's office and mounted the stairs to the third floor. The first room is the warming room where guests can gather and have tea and read.
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I first saw the stove (left) on which mine is modeled in 1996 in the Museum of Art and History in Geneva. It was built in 1688-89 by David Pfau II. It is 10 feet tall. Most of the ceramic tiles on my stove are photo copies of the original, but when I ran out of examples I used Tarot cards to fill in.
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To the left from the warming room is the room for the inkeeper and his family. Note the wall bed.
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From the warming room headed to the front of the building we come to the guest room for well-paying guests.
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This doll, like the cloaked figures in the main hall, was made for this dollhouse by a London dollmaker, in period German costume from around 1600.
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From the good guest room a short staircase leads to the upper tower room, which is a music room, reserved for special guests.
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A staircase between the guest bedroom and the warming room leads to the fourth floor, opening on a large storage area.
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The light in the doorway at the far back leads to a small bedroom generally rented to students.
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The student garrett bedroom.
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To the left of the storage area are three sleeping alcoves with mattresses on the floor. These are for very poor travelers.
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Above the fourth floor there is a storage loft. Goods and provisions are brought into the house by a hoist to the street at the loft level, then lowered to the fourth floor on a wooden platform.
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Here is the loft lifting mechanism, copies from examples in books on German Renaissance architecture.
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This is the rear top gable of the inn. A hoist is used from here to bring up goods from the street below.
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This is the view directly into the gable in the previous picture.
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View of the storage loft at the top of the building.
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