A Note of Explanation
A Little Tale of Secrets and Enchantment from Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House
by Vita Sackville-West, illustrated by Kate Baylay
Afterword by Matthew Dennison
Publisher: Royal Collection Trust, 2017
Project Manager and Editor: Debbie Bibo
Book Design: Duška Karanov
Preserved unseen on a bookshelf in the library of the dolls’ house created for Queen Mary in 1924, this enchanting story is a previously unknown work by the celebrated poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West.
The delightful tale tells of a spirit who inhabits the dolls’ house, unseen by conservators, paying guests to Windsor Castle and even Queen Mary herself. Having seemingly been present for the major moments of fairy-tale history such as Cinderella’s ball, Sleeping Beauty’s waking kiss and the creation of Aladdin’s palace, she has made herself at home in this early twentieth-century house, baffling even its maker.
This sumptuous book is beautifully bound in real cloth and uniquely illustrated by Kate Baylay. This charming story by a major figure in twentieth-century literature will appeal to adults and children alike.
“A whimsical tale about a fashionable and ageless sprite who moves into the dolls’ house and promptly makes herself at home.”
“The tiny volume measuring no bigger than a matchbox was written by Woolf’s aristocratic lover, Vita Sackville-West, in 1922. Entitled A Note of Explanation, its theme will be familiar to anyone who has read Orlando: an ageless sprite who is present for the major moments in fairytale history, from Cinderella’s ball to Sleeping Beauty’s kiss.”
“Measuring just 39 x 10 mm, the original book is one of 200 volumes produced for the library of Queen Mary's Dolls' House in 1924. The house is a perfect replica of an aristocratic Edwardian residence, complete with electricity, lifts and running water. The miniature book still sits on the shelves of the Dolls' House library today and can be seen as part of a visit to Windsor Castle. ”
The Royal Collection Trust