Posted by: marymarthatours | October 28, 2013

Downton Abbey Kitchen in Miniature, Part 2

As with most of my projects, I finished the Downton Abbey 1-inch scale kitchen just in time to display it at the October meeting of the Midwest Miniature Guild.  This group, now with over 150 miniaturists and dollhouse enthusiasts from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, began meeting in 1984.  Members meet three times a year in the St. Paul, MN, suburb of Shoreview.  At these meetings, they participate in workshops; shop at local vendor tables; use the extensive library of books, magazines, and videos; or just spend time connecting with others who are passionate about their shared hobby.  There are also tables set aside to display members’ current projects, the creations of our junior (teen) members, and occasionally a “challenge project”.

mmg workshop2

Workshop table at May Guild meeting

The Downton Abbey Kitchen was my response to a challenge from the May 2013 meeting.  At that time, small metal miniatures of kitchen-related items were given out.  The challenge was to incorporate these kitchen pieces into a scene and bring the completed project to the October meeting.  I was delighted with the opportunity to enter this challenge, because

  1. I had already started the Downton Abbey Kitchen (see blog on Part 1),
  2. I needed lots more kitchen stuff to fill it up, and
  3. as always, I needed the push of a deadline to get it done.

I enjoy working with metal minis.  Like many people, I was slow to start using them because of the various steps necessary to finish them properly.  They must be thoroughly cleaned and primed before painting.  And after painting, you need to apply several coats of matte or glossy finish to protect them.  Here are some metal 1” scale Toby Jugs that I got in York, England, in 2010 from The Miniature Scene.  I use Mini-hold to secure the metal mini to a golf tee for ease of handling and painting.  The tee is stuck in Styrofoam while the paints dries.

Crier,2   Crier,5

The Town Crier Toby Jug primed and finished.


A line-up of finished Tobies

Painting can be time consuming, but fun (especially if you don’t expect perfection with such tiny objects).  And when it comes to kitchen items, some things can just be left the natural pewter color.


The Downton Abbey Kitchen is filled with items that would be found in a typical Edwardian-era manor house kitchen.  In addition to the metal minis from the Guild, I found many items at my local miniature shop, Little Enchantments, in Edina, MN.  I also shopped like a crazy woman at the 2013 Chicago International Show and the Three Blind Mice Show last April.  I found copper pots, vegetables, bread rising in a bowl, crockery, and lots more.  My favorite purchases were a Mrs. Patmore doll from Sherri Colvin; a Victorian knife cleaner from Rosamonde’s Cottage; and a tiny copy of Mrs. Beeton’s cookbook (complete with recipes inside) from Little Dollhouse Co.  See how many of my purchases and metal minis from the photo above you can find in the finished kitchen.


Mrs. Patmore in her kitchen domain

(by Mary)

Photo credits:  Midwest Miniature Guild meeting, copyright Joanne Baier for Midwest Miniature Guild, used by permission;  all other photos copyright Mary Wallace.




  1. What a wonderful kitchen, cook and all! And even a Mrs. Beeton’s! I have my GreatGrandmother’s copy of Mrs. Beeton’s with the lovely coloured plates of elaborate cakes, and enormous lobsters in aspic, enough for a Ball Supper. When I was little and had pneumonia all the time and had to lie still, Nain would send that book to me — she’d been given it by her mother-in-law (named Mary Bellis) — and I could spend all those hours in bed learning the duties of the mistress of the house, and the duties of the upstairs maid and the scullery maid, and how to choose a wet-nurse, and how to choose a footman, and if you were going to your country estate for the summer and could only take 6 servants, which 6 to take. I learned how to lay out the table for a little Hunt Breakfast for 70 people, or a Midnight Ball Supper for 100. Just what any 5-year-old needs to know, and I just lapped it up and loved it, and now it’s mine. I had to have the book rebound, but saved the cover boards from the original, and had the bookbinder put the same name and title on the new cover and spine — Mrs. T. Bellis.

    Thank you so much for this post!

  2. Your Downton Abbey kitchen is just lovely Mary. All the fine details from pots, pans and basket to the tiny vegetables are so realistic.

  3. Delightful to see, Mary! Appreciate your tip on how to “get a handle” on painting those miniature metal pieces.

  4. Mary, how wonderful! You’ve got to send a picture of this to Julian Fellowes and the Downton Abbey team.

  5. I just received an email from my friend Graham Barlow of the Miniature Scene shop in York, England. I had heard from him a while back that he was closing the shop on Fossgate (due to the high rent there) and going to all on-line sales. The GREAT NEWS is that he has found another location in York and has reopened the Miniature Scene at 18 Monkgate, right next to the Monkbar Hotel. Not only will our friends from the York Miniature Club be able to shop in a physical location, but travelers on any future M&M tours to York (possibly 2015) will have an opportunity to enjoy both the shop and Graham. We’re wishing Graham lots of happy and successful years in his new location. Mary

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