Lilliput Lane cottages capture the architectural heritage of Britain in authentic miniature detail and for more than 30 years each one has been crafted by hand in Great Britain
A Cottage Story: the secrets of creation from start to finish
The talented production team of designers, modellers and artisan craftsmen and women are proud to be involved in the creation of such a unique collection, and there is a steadfast commitment to upholding the highest quality standards throughout all production stages. Cottages are made in the Lilliput Lane production studios in Langholm on the borders of Scotland.
Every cottage story begins with identifying and photographing an unusual building - whether a tiny cottage or a grander home, an unusual church or monument. Its history and distinctive architectural features are researched by the Scottish-based design team so that these can be referenced and included in the projected sculpture. One of Lilliput Lane’s outstanding designers is commissioned to prepare drawings of the cottage – but this work is not straightforward as the building may be overgrown with vegetation or in disrepair and not all of its aspects may be visible! The designer’s hand-drawn and coloured artwork shows the cottage complete with its main architectural features, and positions it within a setting that will also connect to the story of its history, or to its former or current residents.
From the approved artwork and using images showing details of the building, one of the exceptional Lilliput Lane modellers produces an original sculpture using a specially prepared wax. Every element giving the building its unique character is carefully copied, such as replicating the historic patterns on thatched roofs, the brickwork on chimneys and the intricate mullion design of ancient windows. Each tile, slate or flower is painstakingly made by hand and carefully positioned on the model adding authenticity and texture to the cottage design. However, some artistic licence is required especially if details are too small to replicate and cottages are not to scale.
The meticulously-made sculpture of the cottage is approved, but the next process will, somewhat curiously, destroy the original wax model! A master or block mould of silicone rubber is made of the original cottage, this is a highly skilled process as every detail of the sculpture must be reproduced in the mould. Once the mould is set, it’s opened up and in this process the wax model is destroyed.
Working moulds, also made from silicon rubber, are made from the master mould and from these Lilliput Lane cottages are cast. A special kind of fine plaster is used to infiltrate all areas of the mould and capture every exquisite detail of the original sculpture. The team of casters at the Lilliput Lane production studios individually cast every cottage, using their time-honoured skills and years of experience. The time for the cast to set depends on the complexity and size of each cottage and even the weather conditions prevailing on the day.
A select band of painters experiment with different colours before the final colour scheme for a new cottage is approved. As many as 30 different colourways can be created, each being compared to the initial art work and photography, to ensure the finished cottage will be as accurate as possible in recreating the style and character of the original building. The master cottage will then be used as the standard for the painting team who will copy this version, consistently, painting each cottage by hand using fine brushes, to fulfil orders as they are received from customers around the world.
The master cottage will then be used as the standard for the painting team who will copy this version, consistently, painting each cottage by hand using fine brushes, to fulfil orders as they are received from customers around the world.
The Completed Cottage
The final stage in the production process is the addition of green baize, which is fixed to the base of the cottage to prevent it from marking surfaces. The baize is fixed to each cottage by hand and expertly trimmed with a sharp scalpel blade, so that the protective material traces the shape of the base precisely. Each cottage is checked one more time to ensure it’s perfect before it receives an identifying label and is placed in a specially designed presentation box to begin its journey to a collector. Accompanying every Lilliput Lane cottage is a deed card, which gives an insight into its history, researched and written in Langholm.