Sunday, 15 May 2011

London Kensington Dollshouse Festival, and insurance question

This week I have been working on the other three dining chairs, and have two of them done except for the twisted thread trim, and the third one underway.

But today, instead of working on the dollshouse, I went shopping instead!  I went up to London to the Kensington Dollshouse Festival, always a great show.  Apparently it has been running since 1985.  I think I first went in 1988, and I've been most years since either to the summer show or, more recently, the new Christmas show.

I was looking primarily for 1/24th accessories for the Fairfield.  This is a scale which is growing in popularity in the UK, but there still isn't a huge amount.  Typically a maker's stand will be 95% 1/12th scale, with perhaps one little display of 1/24th scale goods for sale.

So what did I get?
  • Cranberry glass bowl
  • glass candy dish
  • pair brass candlesticks
  • pair brass vases
  • bowl of fruit
  • three turned bowls of yew wood
  • two baskets
  • plate of four scones for a cream tea (DH and I love cream teas!)
  • two unpainted plant stands, which I am going to turn into kitchen stools
  • potted plant from Georgie at The Miniature Garden Centre (Hi Georgie!)
  • a 1/12th teapot shaped like a castle, for my teapot collection
  • a 1/12th chess set, chess board and booklet, from Reina Mab Miniaturas, all the way from Beunos Aires in Argentina!

This year, for the first time, they were screening films about miniatures using a laptop and projector, in one of the venue's meeting rooms.  I had my knitting with me, and was happily knitting as I watched some of these.  '1:12' was a 25 minute film about seven of the craftsmen who exhibit at the Festival, including very interesting shots of them at work in their garden sheds or workshops.  There were two absolutely charming short films about the dollshouse of Frances Winch, called Scrivelsby Folly.  She narrates the events of Christmas 1922 and Boxing Day 1928, like a childrens' story, in a quintessentially English voice as clever animation makes it seem like the occupants have just walked out of the room before the cameras got there.

As usual, there were loads of lovely things at the show to look at.  I wish I had won the £107 million Euromillions and then I would have bought a lot more! 

Insurance question

Thursday the insurance assessor came to evaluate what was stolen in our burglary and to start the claiming process.  He was surprisingly nice, and as he was admiring my houses, I took the opportunity to ask him for his advice about insuring them.

I have never tried to insure my miniatures collection because a) most of it is handmade and therefore unique and in many cases irreplaceable; b) I have been collecting for over 25 years so a lot of the earlier purchases are no longer available, the maker may even be dead, etc.; c) I have virtually no receipts as you don't normally get these when you buy at shows; d) I've built most of my houses and room boxes myself, so it wouldn't be possible to just buy a replacement.

However, the insurance man pointed out that if I lost everything due to, for example, fire; or smoke damage from a fire; or vandalism if we had a more violent burglar in future; I wouldn't just give up on miniatures.  I would want to buy new houses, and new contents to put in them.  It wouldn't be the same, but I would want to continue my hobby even if I had to start over again, because I love doing it.

His suggestion was to photograph every item (!) and every house, and make an itemised list to accompany the photographs, with an estimated value next to each item.  Even without receipts, these would a) prove to the insurance company that I possessed the items and b) help them to estimate a value for the claim. He also recommended talking to the insurance company as they may view the items as a 'collection' and want to specify it on the policy.

This seems like an unbelievably enormous job, as I have several houses, all full of stuff - much of which is stuck down in place - plus loads of room boxes and small scale vignettes.  Not to mention all the stash of furniture and accessories waiting for a home.

So my question is - have you insured your miniatures?  How have you gone about it?  Have you always kept detailed records, or did you have to do it afterwards like me?  Any advice gratefully received.



  1. Hello Sharon! lovely to see you at the weekend, sorry to hear about your burglary, sounds like you have a mammoth task in front of you if you are going to make a proper inventory.
    I've never bothered to insure my collection, it would be a very special burglar who knew there was any value in what to most peoples eyes are toys. But heaven forbid there was ever a I can see I'm going to have to get photographing too!!!

  2. You have lovely finds at the show. Sorry about your burglary. That is awful to come home to. I love the table and chairs you worked on. They are adorable.

  3. Sharon, right at the start I was advised to keep an inventory of my miniatures so I have done that. Two in fact, one by visit - with a list of what is bought each visit or Internet Order along with receipt (at shows I don't get a receipt but if I use my visa card I attach the copy of that- best to scan it of course). The second one is by category but I am changing that to be one by house/project. The one by category has a photo of the item, measurements etc. I can send you a sample if you like.
    Hugs, Sandra


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