25.05.2013 - 03.11.2013
In the Borromean Fortress (Rocca Borromea) of Angera, on Lake Maggiore, is the most important European Museum of Dolls and Toys, set to display original and historic dollhouses (May 25 – November 3). The Museum, commisisoned by Bona Borromeo Arese, is curated by Marco Tosa.
The items on exhibit are exemplars of the golden age of the European toy industry (from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s). The concept of the dollhouse came about in southern Europe in the 17th Century, and eventually gained caché among the aristocracy and the wealthy bourgeoisie.
The decorative details of these early dollhouses are curated to a tee, and thus merit to be treated as testaments to their respective epochs‘ furnishing and lifestyle trends.
The miniatures on view include marvelous houses and shops produced by German firm Moritz Gottschalk, excuted in wood with sophisticated decor that ranges from furniture, porcelains, and wallpapering to textiles, paintings, and even electric lighting in the most modern models.
Yet, it is not just habitations that make their appearance here, but schoolhouses (complete with school supplies), stores and workshops displaying their wares on the shelves and in windows. Everything is realized down to the most enchanting and minute detail.
Concluding this positively perplexing collection are the little cottage from the tale of Hansel and Gretel, made of marzipan, cookies and other sugary sweets; and play altars featuring holy vessels and tapestries, along with ornaments for teaching children destined to the priesthood. Similarly to these play altars, dollhouses, of course, were not only toys, but educational instruments for future masters and ladies of the house, for future shopowners and commercial entrepreneurs, for educators and for (why not?) future nuns and priests.
Where: Rocca Borromeo (Borromean Fortress)
Address: Via Rocca Castello 2