The Modern-Day Miniature Library

A Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House Centenary Celebration

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, the largest and most famous Dolls’ House in the world, which has been on display for visitors to Windsor Castle since its creation.

The Dolls’ House was built between 1921 and 1924 as a gift from the nation to Queen Mary following the First World War. It is a perfect 1:12 scale replica of an Edwardian-style residence – complete with electricity, working lifts and running water – and is filled with contributions from over 1,500 of the finest artists, craftspeople, and manufacturers of the day.

One of the great treasures of the Dolls’ House is its Library, which captured the literary culture of the 1920s through miniature books handwritten by the era’s foremost writers, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Vita Sackville-West to A. A. Milne and Thomas Hardy. Now, in an anniversary initiative championed by Her Majesty The Queen, 20 tiny manuscripts have been penned and decorated by hand by leading writers and illustrators, to establish a Modern-Day Miniature Library, once again providing a snapshot of contemporary literature in Britain.

The new manuscripts range from short stories, poetry collections and illustrated tales to plays, articles and recipes, many inspired by the Dolls’ House or written specially for the occasion. Her Majesty The Queen has contributed her own miniature book to the collection: a handwritten introduction to the Modern-Day Miniature Library project.
Each manuscript, measuring just 4.5cm high, has been hand-bound with a unique cover by a leading designer-bookbinder. Each miniature cover is a work of art, with each binder taking inspiration from the contents of their book to create designs that range from gilded and traditional to whimsical and strikingly modern.

The new books, which will become part of the Royal Collection, are now on display for visitors to Windsor Castle and can be seen throughout 2024. Find out more at The Royal Colections Trust’s website here.

The contributors to the Modern-Day Miniature Library are:

• Her Majesty The Queen, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House: foreword, bound by Glenn Bartley, Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle.
• Simon Armitage, There was a steep grass bank then a field, bound by Matthew Stockl, Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle.
• Alan Bennett, The Mantelpiece, bound by Andreas Maroulis, Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle. Malorie Blackman, A Message to Jessica, bound by Bayntun-Riviere. Illustrations by Elizabeth Mira Morrison.
• Lucy Caldwell, Intimacies, bound by Gillian Stewart, Juju Books. Illustrations by Orla Routh (age 5 ¾).
• Joseph Coelho, An Abecedarius of the Very Teeny: and other poems, bound by Matthew Stockl, Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle.
• Imtiaz Dharker, The Welcome, bound by Flora Ginn.
• Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo, bound by Glenn Bartley, Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle.
• Bernardine Evaristo, The African Origins of the United Kingdom, bound by Sue Doggett.
• Sebastian Faulks, Music for a Dolls’ House, 1924–2024, bound by Shepherds, Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
• Philippa Gregory, Richard my Richard: a play, bound by Stuart Brockman, Brockman Bookbinders.
• Robert Hardman, The Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla, 6.V.2023, bound by Ted Bennett. Illustrations by Phoebe Hardman (age 14).
• Anthony Horowitz, A Tiny Ghost Story, bound by Angela James.
• Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, bound by Hannah Brown.
• Sir Ben Okri, Poems, bound by Rachel Ward-Sale, Bookbinders of Lewes.
• Tom Parker Bowles, A Recipe Fit for a Queen, bound by Andreas Maroulis, Royal Bindery, Windsor Castle.
• Elif Shafak, Aisha woke up from troubled dreams, bound by Haein Song.
• Sir Tom Stoppard, Kolya’s Glove, bound by Lester Capon.
• Sarah Waters, Underhand House: part one, bound by Christopher Shaw.
• N. Wilson, The Residents: a poem, bound by Peter Jones.
• Dame Jacqueline Wilson, The House Mouse / translated from Mouse Squeaks, bound by Eri Funazaki.