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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
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

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us