Monday, August 1, 2011

Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle




Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle has been mentioned on SurLaLune in years past but not on this blog. A recent article at The Daily Mail--Fit for a (very small) princess: The fairy tale dolls' castle worth half a million dollars--reminded me of that oversight which I am correcting today.

 From the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago website:

Experience the enchantment of a Fairy’s dream home in Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle. This elaborate miniature house was created by silent film star Colleen Moore in the 1930s, and was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry in 1949.

It will delight you with its tiny treasures—including murals and paintings painted by Walt Disney himself; chandeliers adorned with real diamonds, emeralds and pearls; the tiniest bible ever to be written, dating back to 1840; and ancient statues more than 2,000 years old.
But this one needs pictures and so I have some to share from the museum site with their descriptions as part of the online tour. Twelve images are offered there, but I am focusing on the rooms with predominant fairy tale inspiration.



The kitchen is filled with whimsical wall murals from various fairy tales. Over the door are the three Little Pigs, and to the right, Jack and Jill are tumbling down the hill. Humpty Dumpty can be seen through the archway and Little Bo Peep is above the stove. The copper stove is meant to be the stove in which the wicked witch locked Hansel and Gretel. Inside the oven is the pie that was baked with four and twenty blackbirds. The Royal Doulton dinner service on the table is an exact replica of the set made for Queen Mary's doll house at Windsor Castle.



Cinderella's Drawing Room


In Cinderella’s drawing room, the floor is made of rose quartz and jade from China. The chandelier hanging in the center of the room is gold, hung with real diamonds, emeralds and pearls. To the left you can see a little chess table just waiting for you to come and play. The mural on the wall is of Cinderella, and was painted by Walt Disney himself.

The vases at each side of the door going into the great hall are made of carved amber more than 500 years old. They came from the collection of the Dowager Empress of China.


Outside, above the room, is the good fairy welcoming you to Fairyland. Below her are figures of Cinderella, the prince and the wicked stepmother. The floating staircase in the center of the room has no railings because fairy folk balance themselves with their wings.


The ceiling of the Great Hall is painted in scenes from fairy tales. Over the door, at the back of the room, is a mural of the pied Piper of Hamlin—with the children climbing up the wall to get to him. The knights in armor, at each side of the door, are silver and came from the collection of Rudolph Valentino, a famous motion picture actor. The tall glass windows at the rear are etched to reflect the stories of Jack and the Beanstalk and The Princess and the Seven Swans.

In the roped-off sections are treasures of Fairyland. To the left and on a low rosewood table are Cinderella’s glass slippers. They are hollow with high heels and have tiny red glass bows. And under the glass bell, the tiny chairs of the three bears sit on the heads of pins—the largest weighing only 1/150,000th of an ounce!

There are many things in the Great Hall which are very old. For example, you can see in the back left of the room a bust of a woman on a green pedestal. This bust is Roman and about 2,500 years old. Next to this, on that table, are three statues of the Goddess Isis, which are more than 4,000 years old. The 4th, a Syrian vase, is more than 1,000 years old.

To your right behind the ropes, is a Battersea enameled table. On it sits a nest filled with golden eggs, and beside it, a goose. These, of course, were stolen from the Giant by Jack. On the next table is a small pistol. It actually shoots. At the foot of the stairs you see two jars, one is a 3,000-year-old alabaster jar from Egypt. The other is a glazed porcelain jar from ancient Siam that is more than 1,000 years old.


The Princess' Bathroom


Look above the kitchen, and there is the bathroom of the Fairy Princess. The crystal walls are etched to tell the story of Undine, a water spirit. The tub is made of silver, and real water is able to flow from the dolphin's mouths.


The Princess' Bedroom


Above the dining room is the bedroom of the Fairy Princess. The bed represents the bed that Sleeping Beauty slept in. The bedspread is the gold spider web that covered her for 100 years as she waited for Prince Charming.

The platinum chairs in the room are set with diamonds have seats of green cloisonné. Their backs are made from a pair of emerald and diamond lapel clips that belonged to Colleen Moore. She decided that she would rather use the clips in the castle than wear them herself.


The Magic Garden


As you go around the corner, you will see the magic garden. Notice the cradle that sits on the rocking tree. It is made of gold and pearls, was one of Moore's favorite artifacts in the Magic Garden. The cradle was made with jewelry from Moore's grandmother, which she inherited from childhood.

To the left on the wall of the garden, in bas-relief, is the story of the Wizard of Oz. Over the arched doorway, going into the Great Hall, is Aladdin with a genie coming out of his lamp. The silver coach outside is waiting to take Cinderella to the ball.


Within the Fairy Castle: Colleen Moore's Doll House at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

If you are interested in the castle and want to see more, visit the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago or look for a copy of the book, Within the Fairy Castle: Colleen Moore's Doll House at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago by Terry Ann R. Neff which includes over 100 photos of the castle.

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