Have you ever heard of Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle? I first discovered it about ten years ago when I found this book about it in my local dolls house shop. I was immediately spellbound. This miniature castle is a thing of beauty! I wish I could see it in real life but it is in Chicago (on display in the Museum of Science and Industry)- a little far away for a day trip!
Basically, Colleen Moore (who was a star of the silent film era), embarked on a project to create a castle decorated with fairy tale themes in dollhouse scale. She spent hundreds and thousands of dollars and seven years making this dream happen. She hired hollywood set designers and crafts men to create the castle's fourteen splendid rooms and exquisite furnishings. She also gathered antique miniature treasures from all over the world to put inside it.
The fairy castle is situated in a Magic Garden. This area of the Fairy Castle is animated by the endless rocking of the cradle of Rock-abye Baby, which unlike in the lullaby, rests safely in a tiny treetop on a bough that never breaks. Here it is below. it was actually Colleen Moore's most beloved object in the garden. Her Irish grandmother had the golden cradle set with pearls made from a necklace, a pair of earrings, and a brooch she had inherited and worn from childhood.
I love the fact that this caslte is a culmination of so many different famous people. For example there is a picture on the wall by Walt Disney, there are tiny books in the library contributed by famous writers of the day (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Daphne du Maurier and John Steinbeck to name a few), there is an autograph album with the signatures of six American presidents, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Winston Churchill, Picasso and many more.
In fact, over a hundred people were involved with working on the castle including Harold Grieve, a motion picture director and interior designer who like others, became bewitched with it:
'The leading characters of Fairyland will live in this house and they will naturally be interested in antiques. They'll want to shop all the auction galleries and antique places in Fairyland, hunting for King Arthur's Round Table to go in the dining room, and Sleeping Beauty's bed...'
Another thing I like about this castle is that Colleen Moore didn't put any characters in it. 'She intended the castle to be a home for the fantasy characters that had delighted her as a child. And just as she was free to imagine its residents, she wanted viewers to have the same opportunity to people it with the fairy-tale characters of their own imaginations and renew the fantasy afresh each time.' I think this makes the whole thing even more magical!
So what do you think of it? Had you ever heard of Colleen Moore's fairy Castle before?
I'd be interested to know!
I'd be interested to know!