Miniature cottages sold to Gloucestershire attraction

Willy Lott's Cottage at Flatford The miniature cottage (right) is a replica of the Suffolk house depicted in John Constable's The Hay Wain

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Seven miniature houses, including the Suffolk home depicted in John Constable's The Hay Wain, have been sold to a Gloucestershire attraction.

The 10in (25cm) high replicas, which also includes Thomas Hardy's Dorset cob cottage, were created by John Constable, from Langport in Somerset.

Each building took over a year to construct, using traditional methods and thousands of miniature bricks.

Mr Constable, said: "I was keen to have them on public display so I'm pleased."

The seven buildings are based on either a building style or an actual cottage and are 32 times smaller than their full scale counterparts.

Thomas Hardy's Cottage The Dorset cottage is a model of Thomas Hardy's birthplace, where he wrote Far From The Madding Crowd

Built to "preserve a record" of traditional cottages in their heyday, they include a cottier house from Magilligan in County Londonderry, a Wealdon house from Kent and Teapot Hall in Lincolnshire, which burned down in 1945.

Willy Lott's House, at Flatford on the River Stour in Suffolk, is still there and is much the same as when the original Constable immortalised it in The Haywain, which he finished in 1821.

"I couldn't earn a living from doing it, but Sir Paul Getty [the American-born multi-millionaire] was my patron and he gave me an income for the first few years," said Mr Constable.

"He was very, very good to me, and said what I was doing was a new form of artwork."

With a "remit to build cottages", Mr Constable measured, researched and constructed 16 cottages - two of each building - and sited them in his back garden on an estate in Langport.

"I had them in the garden of my house with lanes, fences and all the landscaping - but I'm 80 and I wanted them to be available to the public," he said.

Model Village, Bourton-on-the-Water Mr Constable's garden has become a vegetable plot since his cottages were moved to Bourton-on-the-Water

The miniature cottages have been sold to the Model Village in Bourton-on-the-Water.

The village is a one-ninth scale replica of Bourton-on-the-Water and co-owner Vicky Atherton said they could not initially work out how to install the cottages.

"They're a different scale and nothing to do with Bourton," she said.

"But once we saw them, we thought we've got to have them - so we've opened a landscapes in miniature exhibition."

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