Historic doll’s house

A doll's house created in the 20th Century is going on display at Woburn Abbey
A doll's house created in the 20th Century is going on display at Woburn Abbey

A beautifully furnished doll’s house that was skilfully made by members of the Russell family at the beginning of the 20th Century is now on display at Woburn Abbey.

The replica is a miniature of Oakley House which is situated just outside Bedford and was bought around 1750 by John Russell, the fourth Duke of Bedford.

It was created by the two youngest children of the Baron of Ampthill – 13-year-old Leo Russell and his sister Phyllis, 10, who lived in Oakley House at the time.

Current owner Mrs Georgiana Fiddian-Green assisted with installing the furniture prior to it going on show to the public.

She said: “Aunt Phyllis would have been over the moon to have it on display at Woburn Abbey. It feels that it has come home and is back where it belongs.”

The idea to make a replica came from Phyllis who enlisted her brother’s help. It was approved by Lady Ampthill on the proviso that all measurements should be correct and that once it was begun, it must be completed.

One of the outstanding features is Phyllis’s intricate and skilful needlecraft. She embroidered the carpets and some of the soft furnishings which are a true replica of the delicate patterns and colours.

Woburn Abbey curtaor Matthew Hirst said: “We’re very pleased to have this splendid piece on display.

“We hope our visitors will enjoy seeing the doll’s house and finding out more about the history of Oakley House and its furniture.”

> More info at www.woburnabbey.co.uk