Inside the $7m fairy castle doll's house built by 100 people for a Hollywood film star

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The fairy castle is around 9-square-foot and features about 1,500 miniatures

The two great passions of Colleen Moore, a silent film star of the 1930s and one of the most fashionable actresses of the day, were dolls and movies; and though her films may be long forgotten at least one of her passions remains.

Click above to see a gallery of pictures

Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle is an elaborate doll's house adapted to fantastic proportions, filled with miniatures and artifacts. It cost an astonishing $500,000 at the time of its creation - the equivalent of a staggering $7m in today's money.

The castle, which became a permanent exhibit when it was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) in 1949, is around 9-square-foot and features about 1,500 miniatures.

The Fairy Castle was created by silent film star Colleen Moore The Fairy Castle was created by silent film star Colleen Moore

Among its tiny treasures are a painting done by Walt Disney himself, along with a dozen other pieces of original artwork from various artists, the tiniest Bible ever to be written, dating back to 1840, a replica of King Arthur’s round table and three statues of the Goddess Isis.

As a child Moore was obsessed with doll's houses and had a number of elaborate mini-buildings.

In 1928 she decided to build her dream fairy castle, enlisting the help of architect and set designer Harold Grieve, who had redesigned Colleen Moore’s real life mansion. Between 1928 and 1935, about 100 people worked on the Fairy Castle.

Silent film star Colleen Moore was always fascinated with dolls Silent film star Colleen Moore was always fascinated with dolls

In 1935 Moore used the Fairy Castle to raise money for children's charities during a national tour in the toy departments of major cities’ prominent department stores. It remains one of the most popular exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

The Fairy Castle is set to undergo a major conservation operation this Autumn, during which artifacts that are usually hidden in the castle will be on full display. 

It took seven years to create this awe-inspiring miniature house, which measures almost nine feet It took seven years to create this awe-inspiring miniature house, which measures almost nine feet  

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Designer

£32969 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Recruitment Genius: Data Engineer

£35000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Data Engineer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence