Last weekend I got this great novel called “Het huis aan de Gouden Bocht”. by Jessie Burton.
It’s a novel featuring my favorite dollhouse ever. The dollhouse from Petronella Oortman.
This dollhouse is on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. There three dollhouses on display at the Rijksmuseum but this one is the most famous.
In the 17th century, dolls houses were not toys; they were a hobby, the equivalent for women of the collection cabinets kept by men.
What makes Petronella Oortman’s dolls house so unusual is that all the pieces were made precisely to scale, in the same way and using the same materials as their regular counterparts. Petronella ordered her miniature porcelain from China and commissioned cabinetmakers, glassblowers, silversmiths, basket-weavers and artists to furnish her dolls house: an extremely expensive hobby. Her dolls house cost as much as an actual house on a canal! She was so proud of her house, that she had it portrayed in a painting.
And now there is tho great novel about this dollhouse.
Here a little teaser from the publisher:
On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office-leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.
But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist-an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .
Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand-and fear-the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?
And there is a English version of this book !!!! It’s called The Miniaturist.
They also made this small book about the dollhouse filled with fun facts about the house and the Dutch Golden Age called “Het Poppenhuis van Petronella Oortman” by Karin Braamhorst and Marlies Visser.
This book will be published next month in English.
Het Huis Aan De Gouden Bocht ISBN 9789021809519
The Miniaturist ISBN 9781447250890
Het Poppenhuis Van Petronella Oortman ISBN 978902455733
The Doll’s Hous Of Petronella Oortman ISBN 9789024566693