From the Archive: A Friday Fairtytale…

Vicky, our company archivist, shares some secrets from our archive.  Look out for more heritage blogs every month!

In June 1933, Smythson produced some beautiful, hand-bordered bespoke stationery with die-stamping detail for a very special customer… Queen Titania of Fairy Land.

Queen Titania lived in her fairytale dollhouse palace built by Sir Nevile Wilkinson, who was a British army officer and dollhouse designer. His daughter Gwendolen had asked him to build a fine house for the little fairies she’d seen in the garden. She was concerned that they were forced to live outside and so wanted her father to build them a grand home fit for a queen. Sir Wilkinson started making the dollhouse in 1907 and it took him many years to build; Gwendolen was an adult by the time he completed it. It is now exhibited all over the world.

Everything in it, although miniature, was of the highest quality, and so it stands to reason that Smythson should be commissioned to produce a tiny set of paper and envelopes for the royal palace. The work was greatly admired by all who saw it, even leading one customer from Liverpool to enquire as to whether he could purchase some of the tiny stationery for his collection of miniature articles. He wrote, ‘Yesterday I saw Titania’s palace – I thought one of the most wonderful things in it was your delightful packet of notepaper and envelopes.’

The following amusing letter of thanks, dated 9 June 1933 from the Private Secretary to Fairy Land can be found in the Smythson Archive. It reads:

‘Dear Mr Smythson,

I am commanded by Her Iridescence to thank you most warmly for the charming note paper and envelopes you have kindly sent for The Palace. She is delighted with it and considers it correct in colour, shape, stamping and size.

I am to add that Queen Titania has given her royal command that Smythson Ltd of Bond Street shall be granted the warrant of appointment to her Iridescent Titania by cheerful consent, Queen of all the fairies, pixies and gnomes. And has instructed the Clerk of the Crystal to the appointment in Court Gazette of Fairy Land.’

Ralph Smythson responded on 12 June 1933:

‘We beg to thank you for your letter of the 9th and we appreciate to the full the appointment so graciously given to us by Her Iridescence Queen Titania of Fairy Land. We are glad that our efforts met with Her Majesty’s pleasure and we shall be at all times glad to attend to any future commands from the palace.’

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