Station: [9] The d'Orville Doll's House

F: Have you ever wondered what middle class life was like in the 18th century? How the kitchen was furnished, or the drawing room? Take a look at the d'Orville doll's house, made in 1757, and all your questions will be answered. In relation to Offenbach's 18th century cultural history, the doll's house is probably our most important exhibit. It was bequeathed to the museum by local resident Emilie Krafft in 1930.

M: The doll's house once belonged to the d'Orville family. They were Huguenots who fled France and settled in Offenbach, where they set up as snuff-makers. The building now known as Büsing Palace was originally their snuff mill. 

F: To see how the d’Orville family may have lived, take a look inside the three-storey doll's house. It provides a glimpse of an upper middle-class household during the Rococo period. The doll's house was an educational toy for girls. They were expected to learn how to run a household from an early age.

M: Bottom left is the wine cellar, with the laundry room next to it on the right. The left-hand side of the first floor represents the piano nobile, the principal floor. This is where you find the lady of the house in various guises – as a woman in childbed, for example, or as a hostess. To the right is her maid’s room. On the next floor up, there’s the kitchen on the right and the master's study on the left. The attic houses the servants’ quarters.

F: The doll's house is furnished with more than 300 individual items. From dustpans to side tables, candlesticks and coffee pots, it contains the entire furnishings of a period home. The furnishings even changed with the times. Items typical of the 18th century include the wig stands in the laundry room bottom right – while a chest of drawers typical of the Biedermeier period adorns the study, furnished in the style of the 1850s. Though you can still see the painted decoration in the Rococo style by the fireplace in the corner. The ceiling paintings in the individual rooms are very grand and also reflect the taste of the Rococo period.

Foto: © Thomas Lemnitzer