Living in Lilliput
Lying on a table in the library in Queen Mary’s Doll’s House in Windsor Castle is, among other contemporary journals, a miniature edition of Country Life (Fig 4), no wider than a 10p coin and dated September 19, 1923. its presence reflects the importance of the magazine, then as now, as well as the connections between Country Life and the Doll’s House project.
Sir Lawrence Weaver, then Architectural Editor, was co-editor with A. C. Benson and E. V. Lucas of the two-volume study of the model building and its decoration and contents and, crucially, director of the UK exhibits at the British Empire Exhibition held at Wembley in 1924 at which the Doll’s House was first exhibited. And, of course, Weaver, along with the magazine, had long been the promoter of the genius of the architect who designed the 5ft-high timber structure: Sir Edwin Lutyens.
Country Life gave Lutyens’s unusual building suitable coverage. in 1924, Christopher Hussey published two rather arch articles in the manner of Jonathan Swift to describe in detail ‘The Palace of Their Majesties The King and Queen of Lilliput’, noting how Lutyens, ‘the King’s Chief Architect, had, with the utmost ingenuity, designed; less to be a perpetual Habitation for their Majesties, than for a grand Example, to all coming from other Lands, of the Arts, Domestic Uses and Applied Sciences of Lilliput at that time’.