David Winter Cottages
David Winter Cottages is the trading name for a range of miniature cottages produced by John Hine Limited. They have always been made in Great Britain - for the most of 1980's exclusively in England until the Wrexham workshop opened in North Wales which became the prime location in the 1990s. David's enormous talent for sculpting in the finest and most exquisite detail and the ability of skilled craftspeople to make exact models from his originals resulted in the beautiful David Winter Cottages. The David Winter Cottages® collection takes us back to a tranquil existence enjoyed by countless generations, who lived and worked in simpler days gone by. In the mid-1980's the company name was extended to The Studios and Workshops of John Hine Limited and this title is currently used on the backstamps of all pieces. The name is commonly abbreviated to John Hine Studios.
An original David Winter Cottage is always sculpted using standard artists' modelling wax, pale yellow in color and a material ideal for the job - soft enough to be easily moulded but firm enough to retain the fine detail once it has been applied. The detailing usually came quickly. David always worked from the top downwards to avoid smudging what he had already done. His tools included traditional sculpting and dental equipment, but mainly tools he made himself over the years to cater for the specific needs of working on miniature cottages.
Mouse and Owl
One of the great pleasures of collecting David Winter Cottages is to discover the secret of the mouse - a delightful hidden detail that David sculpted onto his work. He added a mouse to many (but not all ) of his sculptures, a secret trade mark as it has been for others before. The mouse has never been talked about officially. Collectors have been left to discover the secret for themselves. In 1991 the mouse disappeared and an owl took its place. The owl supposedly ate the mouse and there is a piece on which the mouse's tail can be seen dangling from the owl's beak. The owl lurks in bushes and is even trickier to find than its predecessor. By popular demand the mouse returned two years later; he can be seen again for the first time on a 1993 Guild Plaque, On the Riverbank. On the same piece you can see the owl flying away.