Friday, 15 March 2013

Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle

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...'
 
I also love how no expense or extravagance is spared when it comes to this enchanted castle.  It is filled with diamonds, rubies, jewels and precious things galore. For example in the princess's bedroom (below), Colleen Moore was thinking about Sleeping Beauty running from her golden bed to her ivory dressing table. What material would be elegant enough? The answer was Mother of Pearl.  The walls are painted pale pink with a mural of Peter Pan over the door.  Also notice the exquisite stained glass window.


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!

Well I've barely scratched the surface of the magnificence and detail of this castle. I so wish I could go and see it in real life! Maybe one day... For now I will have to satisfy myself with looking at pictures and trying to re create something similar in my own castle (haha I wish!)

So what do you think of it? Had you ever heard of Colleen Moore's fairy Castle before?
 I'd be interested to know!

X

14 comments:

Plushpussycat said...

Thanks for showing all of these fab photos. I met some people who'd seen it, and they strongly encouraged me to go see it too. Maybe someday! xo Jennifer

Anna said...

How nice that you reminded me about this fabulous miniature! I'm going to Chicago in September. It's not a holiday, but maybe I might have time to go and see it. I do hope so!

Rosemary Shojaie said...

harriet, this is incredible! something tells me there will be great things in your miniature future ;)

Stephanie said...

I have never heard it this one before and thanks for showing it.

A tale from toadstool house said...

No Id not heard of it before, but wow isnt it fantastic :) xxxhappy Saturdayx

Kerri-Ann Hulme said...

This is amazing thank you so much for sharing it!

Erin K said...

*picks jaw up from the floor* Thank you for showing this amazing castle, Victoria! I...I just can't find the words that would fit my expression for this. I never heard of it until now, I desprately wish I could go see it up close. I'll need to add this to my bucket list of things to do. <3

Eliana said...

Amazing! Thanks for sharing!

Tammie Lee said...

oh my goodness
i can only imagine that this is quite inspiring for you! so beautiful!

MARLOU B. said...

Fantastic !I never heard about it.
Thank you for sharing

Samantha said...

Hi, I love love love your art style and decided to buy myself the Victoria Stitch book for my birthday. But on Lulu there are two versions listed Victoria Stitch and Victoria Stitch 2, what's the difference, please?

Sharon Souter said...

This is absolutely wonderful - thanks so much for showing us this beautiful little miniature world - I'd love to be able to go and see it one day!

Anonymous said...

I hope you get to see the castle one day. Colleen Moore sounds like she was a very kind person who wanted to share here castle. Looking forward to seeing your castle as it develops. Kind Regards Carolle x

marycontrary said...

The Fairy Castle is now taken apart into 200 pieces to be refurbished. Come see it now at the Museum of Science and Industry and watch the restorers in action, with the furnishings in transparent cases. It is scheduled to be finished on March 17, 2014.