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Dolls’ House desk

Dolls House desk

To celebrate National Writing Week we’re taking a look at the King’s desk from the library in Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. The desk was designed to include everything a miniature king might need to keep up with his correspondence, including a perfectly modelled fountain pen by the firm of Mabie Todd, complete with a gold nib. The pen is only 12mm long and the carefully crafted nib is a mere 2.5mm.

Accompanying the pen is a silver inkstand with two bottles of ink, a tiny pen wiper and a leather-bound blotter. There is a miniature seal for the King’s letters, made from quartz and carved with a lion. The writing paper, envelopes and the leather despatch boxes for official papers supplied for the Dolls’ House were copied from real versions used at Windsor Castle in the 1920s. No item of stationery was forgotten, and even tiny invitation cards were produced for the house.

The walnut desk was made by the firm of Turner, Lord & Co in 1924. It is known as a partners’ desk, because it is large enough to seat two people, and has access to cupboards and drawers on each side. There is no doubt that this desk was intended for King George V – the leather top is stamped with his monogram and decorated with a photograph of his consort, Queen Mary. The King also had a leather letter rack and a matching waste-paper basket, both stamped with his cypher. There is even a tiny scarab beetle paperweight on top, only 6 mm long, which is a miniature version of a life-size gift from the Queen herself.

If you had to create a miniature version of your desk, what would you include?