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Woman reclining on a beach

Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and the changing status of women in the 1920s

Hay, Peter Alexander (1866-1952)

Sweet Seventeen c.1923

RCIN 927067

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This watercolour is one of a large number of individual portraits among the collection of graphic works in the Dolls’ House. The miniature scale, and the domestic space in which family and ancestry were often emphasised, were conditions ideally suited to the head-and-shoulders portrait format. These works often demonstrate traditional values. Particularly prevalent as subject matter is the young woman as a symbol of purity, harking back to Victorian and Edwardian sensibilities. Quaint straw hats and blue ribbons often form the accoutrement of these contributions to the Dolls’ House.