Gin Lane: A Hogarth Inspired Doll’s House

This is yet a work in progress. Begun in 2000, the house itself is nearly finished, but we ran out of room to keep it out long ago and we are currently lacking recent/completed pictures. For that I apologize. So, for now, you’ll have to make due with the early stages building the doll’s house.
I had originally started with the idea of an apothecary, since I’d begun to collect apothecary jars and a sundry of medical items. But when looking through Hogarth’s prints in search of inspiration, and he had a fairly detailed apothecary scene in "The Rakes Progress,"
the project swiftly shifted to incorporate the quack & his famous harlots, Hogarth’s humor & attention to detail. I selected a two room, two story house that would be easy-ish to fit out. The bottom floor will be the Quack Apothecary from "Rake’s Progress" with the upper floor being a combo of "Before & After" & "The Harlot’s Progress" but mainly drawing on the former. This is not an exact replica, as I’m doing this for fun, and have taken a rather interpretive approach. The first thing I did after gluing the house together was to make my Harlot’s corset (on chair), seen on the Progress page.
I hope to have updated pictures soon. For now, forgive me, and continue
on The Doll’s House Pogress

The Doll’s House Progress

Sid CookeThe Unfinished House "The Bow St. Corner Shop" is by SID COOKE in the U.K. Please visit their site to see more of their lovely houses. Shipping & Service was superb!

The Brick effect was done using a printable from Jim’s Printables, fixing it with Krylon fixitive spray and gluing it to desired spots prior to plastering. I then masked off bits with torn masking tape (the kind that doesn’t stick too much) and plastered around it. When the plaster had set just a little, but wasn’t hard, I then removed the masking, which gave me nice jaggy edges.

A slightly better view of the upper floor panelling & the fire breast. The panelling was done with balsa strip wood glued to bristol art board. The fire breast was also done with 1/2″ thick balsa. I have no power tools, so everything has to be hacked at by hand. I’ve placed the chimney breast flush to the back on the left side to offset the slightly awkward 12″ square room and give it a little visual interest.

Close-up of fireplace & chimney breast. The firegrate will light once I get electrical in.

The inside of the fireplace is done using the same brick pattern I did on the outside, I then dry poked it with black acrylic to simulate soot. Lots of soot. Eventually we will soot up the fire surround as well.

Top Floor: The panelling, floor, trim & baseboards are in! Used wallpaper glue to adhere panelling boards, which allowed me to smooth some of the warping caused by the paint.

Ground Floor: The bottom Apothecary finally is painted, tiled & the trim is installed! The wall color is a stoney greenish-grey, brushed over with a watery tan acrylic, that gives it a sort of nicotine stained look. I needed a color that contrasted well with the muted georgian rose of the above stairs.

The floor tile are real slate, normally meant to be used for roofing. I was inspired by the Pharmacy Museum in New Orleans and its lovely slate floor, I tiled and grouted a sheet of bristol board and then set it in.

Woo! Let there be light! Somewhat… After trial & tribulation, I got my first electrical appliance in: the firegrate. And the upper floor sconce is in, I may put another one to the right of the bed, but I’d like to get the place decorated before I do that.

Details, Details, Details

For the second story I layed a wooden floor. Using 1" mahogany
vaneer roll from the hardware store, I cut some strips, splitting some narrower. This is not a period detail, however, the vaneer strips did not really have clean edges, and I thought it would look nice and rustic. The veneer comes with gum on the back that sticks when heat is applied. So I just cut my strips then ironed them to a bristol board I had painted black. I then sanded, oil stained & polished with tung oil.

The Apothecary Jars! Click here for details (they’re exquisite).

Using very fine muslin, I adhered two 7″ square pieces together with stitch-witchery, which not only gives the corset its stiffness, it makes it so you don’t have to hem edges, just a tab underneath arms was necessary to connect the front to back sides. Though I did whipstitch a border in pale green around the arm & neck openings. Boning lines are picked out with a running stitch in thread only slightly darker than the muslin. I haven’t embroidered for a very long time, so I was a little rusty, but this project only took me a few hours. The entire corset is just over 1 inch.

And here’s a cute wee box that reads:

James Dalton, Esq.
Wigg box

It is featured on top of the tester bed in the Harlot’s Progress. I used regular weight parchment paper, sealed with krylon (to keep writing from smearing) and then added two coats of shellac.

The furniture is starting to arrive, and I can’t help putting it in as I begin the panelling on the 2nd floor. I’ve created several furniture pieces from kits; the bed and candlestand seen here. I love the kits, but wish they had more variety! They are sanded, oilstained with walnut, and then sealed with several coats of tung oil. This avoids the hard candy coating of a shellac, but still gives it a lovely gloss.

For a pattern of the Tester Canopy, click here.

Ok, so I got another bed, a sweet li’l 18th century French style. It is a bit more accurate to the painting, as the Hogarth tester is free standing, and the bed had no posts. It opens the room up quite a bit. The tester isn’t properly secured here so is a little skewed til I decide which bed to use.

Art Sources

etching from series "Before & After"

Note, in the etching, the corset on the chair & the chamber pot beneath the bed, both symbolizing that despite this girl’s struggle, she’s a little loose in her morals and invited the gentleman to her chambers.

Also note the wonderful detail of the contents of her dressing table. In the drawer is a book of erotic poetry by Rochester, "Novels" & "The Practice of Piety." On the floor is a spilled powder box & small box of spots or beauty marks.

Before and After
oil from series "Before & After"

Though the oil paintings contain less detail than the etchings, these were priceless in deciding color schemes. It looks to be wood panelling. But I chose a deep georgian rose to offset the blue-green bed curtains.

The Quack
Oil (from series "The Rake’s Progress")

Finding source material for 18th Century apothecaries is not easy, so I was thrilled this has so much detail. Not too visible in this rendition, but there is a wolfs head on top of the shelves on the left, and an alligator hanging from the ceiling. Now all I need is some scary taxidermy with which to outfit my shop.

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum … exquisite! Note the lovely slate flooring.

19th Century, but an inspiration and favorite haunt, none the less. The old slate floor inspired my own.

18th Century French Apothecary
NOTE: Aligator hanging on ceiling! Just like the Hogarth painting.

17th – 18th Century Apothecaries & Medical Practices

17th – 18th Century Apothecary Jars and Ceramic Ware

Dollhouse Apothecary Jars

CUSTOM Apothecary Jars and Porcelain by Marsha at Porcelain Fantasies

various Ginger jars repainted as 18th century apothecary jars.

barber or bleeding bowl. The notch in the bowl would support the patient’s arm for bleeding, or held under the chin when shaving.

on the leech jar at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. My purposeful anachronism. I just couldn’t resist having this reproduced!

Papaver (Opium),
& Hydragarum (Mercury)

POT:BROMID: potassium bromide: for headaches and sleeplessness
TR:DIGITALIS: tincture of digitalis/foxglove: poisonous, heart medicine, used for cleaning wounds
TINCT:GENTIANA: tincture of gentiane: digestif & used to make bitters for general reviving tonic
OPIAT:FEBRIF: more opium, heh.

EXT:PAPAVER: extract of papaver somniferum, ie poppy or opium
UNG:HYDRARGYR: unguent of hydrargyrum or Mercury: used for treating syphillis
ABSYNTHE absinthe or wormwood: digestif & vermifuge

TINCT:ACONITI: tincture of aconite, deadly poison if taken too much. diuretic
LAUDANUM tincture of opium. most popular medicinal. reduces fevers, stops vomiting, calms coughs.  extremely addictiv
LEECH JAR: Complete with air holes for the wee leeches to breathe. Leeches were a very common form of treatment, it was thought that they drew out the impurities of disease as they sucked the patients blood.

BARBER/BLEEDING BOWL: The Piece de Resistance! These were used to catch the blood from the arm during bleeding, the most common form of medical procedure. Or held under the chin while shaving or cutting the hair. Look, Jas-Townsend is selling a nice reproduction!

Online Dollhouse Shops

  • Sid Cooke Dolls Houses
    Most excellent line of english dolls houses
  • Dijon UK
    Bookcases for Apothecary
  • GreenWoods Creations UK
    Mini Mundus Delft Apothecary Jars, white chamber pot, candleabra etc
  • Motts Miniatures
    Shenandoah Bed kit, lumber, trim, misc jars/bottles
  • Hobby Builders Supply
    Trim, Arched front door, shop sign, candle stand kit
  • SP Miniatures
    Glass medicine bottles
  • Ray Storey Lighting UK
    brass sconces, poison bottles, chem bottles, eyeball in beaker, chem equipment
  • Rosedale Figures UK
    arched marble resin fire surround & electric grate
  • Porcelain Fantasies
    Click HERE for pictures! Amazing china! I was originally going to order blank whites and then paint labels etc on them myself, but Marsha, the porcelain lady, kindly offered to paint simple labels & scrolls to my specifications in delft blue. And is even doing some custom modifications to create a LEECH jar, with air holes, and a barber/bleeder bowl which apothecaries & surgeons used to catch the blood from the patient’s arm. I am stunned and amazed by Marsha’s offer and enthusiasm to do this for me. Pix will follow when they arrive.
  • Earth & Tree Miniatures
    Eyelet punch for tape wire, slate tiles, fire bellows & GREAT Tips section!
  • Fingertip Fantasies
    Aztec oak tudor chest, Shenandoah console table kit
  • Masters Miniatures UK
    Dressing table, Charles II chair