This year sees the 5ooth anniversary of Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, United Kingdom. This palace has been home to several kings and queens over the centuries but, perhaps the most famous resident (or maybe that should read ‘infamous’) was King Henry VIII.
Since this beautiful palace is only about ten minutes drive from where I live and the Tudor period is one of my favourite eras, I was delighted to be asked by Dollshouse and Miniature Scene Magazine (DHMS) to provide three miniature doll-dressing ‘How To’ projects for them.
Of course King Henry himself was an obvious choice and an absolute must for one of the projects, but which of his six wives to choose for the other two? Well, I decided that the most well known had to be Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife and the first to lose her head! She would provide a good project for the most typical of Tudor ladies fashions.
For the third project I decided that in order to give a good but manageable alternative Tudor female costume, Henry’s last wife, Catherine Parr, would be a good choice. Subtle changes in fashion over the few years between this lady and Anne Boleyn would make for an interesting project for DHMS readers to try.
When I write ‘How To ‘ projects, I have to make the process of dressing a miniature doll accessible to as many people who want to try doll dressing as possible. This caused me a few problems when I was asked for a Henry VIII project. The typical Henry VIII as per the picture at the top of the page is actually quite an advanced costume to make….especially in miniature. Below are some pictures of my top-of-the-range and recently revised Henry VIII miniature doll.
So, after a lot of thinking I put together a set of patterns and instructions and created the following version of this magnificent monarch. It is very similar to the more advanced version but much easier for readers to make and there is scope for the more confident and experienced reader to embellish the doll further if they wish to.
A similar problem arose with Anne Boleyn, but again, with some thought, the right look was achieved. Regarding the colour scheme for this doll, since most people associate the song ‘Greensleeves’ with this lady, I decided to dress her in green. The gold letter ‘B’ was created by painting straight onto the doll and then forming the rest of the choker with tiny individually applied faux pearls and crystals.
I chose a slightly different dress design and colour for Catherine Parr, than the one in the original painting but stayed with the same headdress. Again, this is an attainable design for readers to make, with scope to embellish as richly as they would like to. All her jewellery plus the edging on her cap is made up of individually applied crystals, tiny filligrees and faux pearls.
All three of these projects are due to be published in DHMS magazine this coming spring, starting with King Henry. Follow me on Twitter for updates.
If you enjoyed reading this post, you might like to see some of my previous blog posts about Henry and his wives: