Find out more about the Miniature Model Houses exhibition

September 21 2022 | Attractions

Visitors to Hever Castle can step back in time to a smaller world by discovering the Miniature Model Houses exhibition.

This unique collection of 1/12 scale model houses, accessible via the Hever Shop was commissioned by the current owners of Hever Castle, from the master English miniaturist furniture maker, John J. Hodgson.

The Miniature Model Houses are set within a permanent 12th scale exhibition to illustrate the development of English country houses through the ages, from Tudor to Victorian times.

The collection took 10 years to build with a lot of the furniture based on items within the Castle eg the chairs in the Restoration Drawing Room are based on William and Mary chairs in the Long Gallery.

The Miniature Model Houses exhibition shows real attention to detail – all the flowers are real and are made from dried petals and there is real flour in the pots in the kitchen.

The Medieval House boasts a Great Hall based on Penshurst Place and has over 2,000 handmade floor tiles.

In the Georgian House the bone china dinner service is monogrammed “G” for Guthrie, the current owners of Hever Castle, and the painting over the fireplace is a copy of the real one in the library in the Castle. In the bedroom, the bible can be read, as can the three books on the desk, and the harp in the drawing room can be played.

Caring for the collection comes under the role of Curatorial and Conservation Care Co-ordinator Alison Palmer.

She explains the challenges: “The houses are cleaned every year with satay sticks with cotton wool and sterile water. If anything needs replacing, I work with Head of Retail Ashley Collins. I take photos so I know where everything goes.”

Her favourite item is the blue leather volume Book of Psalms in the Medieval House which opens and has readable psalms in it.

She adds: “You wouldn’t know that that little book is readable unless you do what I do and you actually are able to get into the houses and clean so it’s like a little secret that we know. It’s quite special to pick this little book up and have a look through. The fact that it’s a devotional book mirrors with Hever’s most precious item we have the privilege of caring for which are Anne Boleyn’s Books of Hours so it’s a nice link between the main house and this little medieval house that is tucked away in the shop. It’s one of my favourite pieces.”