star Colleen Moore was always fascinated by dolls and doll houses. She owned
several elaborate doll houses as a child, but later in life her father, Charles
Morrison, suggested that she should pursue her passion for miniatures and doll
houses by creating the "doll house" of her dreams. Her position as one of the
most popular actresses in Hollywood gave her the resources to produce a
miniature home of fantastic proportions. Beginning in 1928, Moore enlisted the
help of many talented professionals to help her realize her vision.
Horace Jackson, an architect and set designer who worked for First National
Studios, created the floor plan and layout of the castle with the basic idea
that "the architecture must have no sense of reality. We must invent a structure
that is everybody's conception of an enchanted castle."
Moore also enlisted the help of art director and interior designer Harold Grieve.
Grieve had designed the interiors for Moore's actual mansion, so he was a
natural to create the interiors of her fantasy castle.
By 1935 more than 700 individuals had lent their expertise, including surgical
instrument lighting specialists, Beverly Hills jewelers and Chinese jade
craftsmen. The price tag for this 8'7" x 8'2" x 7'7" foot palace, containing
more than 2,000 miniatures, was nearly $500,000.
All the hard work and expense of creating the Fairy Castle becomes even more
impressive when one realizes that the entire structure can be broken down into
200 individual pieces. All of the rooms are modular units that can be packed
into the drawers of specially designed shipping crates.
In 1935 Colleen Moore's child-like fascination with her Fairy Castle was
transformed by the Great Depression into a passion for helping children. She
organized a national tour of the Fairy Castle to raise money for children's
charities. The tour stopped in most major cities of the United States and was
often exhibited in the toy departments of prominent department stores such as
Macy's in New York City, The Fair in Chicago and May Co. in Los Angeles. A
brochure from The Fair in Chicago promotes it: "A museum in itself, it awaits
you, starting November 15th in our Eighth Floor Toyland. You will want to see it
again and again." The tour was a huge success and raised more than $650,000
between 1935 and 1939.
In 1949 Major Lenox Lohr, director of the Museum of Science and Industry,
convinced Colleen Moore to have the Fairy Castle make one final journey. She
described their encounter as follows: "When I was seated next to Major Lohr at a
dinner recently in the directors' coach at the Chicago Railroad fair, he
mentioned the doll house while we were having soup, and by the time dessert was
served, he had the doll house!"
Today the "doll house" has been renamed the "Fairy Castle" and has its permanent
home at the Museum of Science and Industry. The Fairy Castle is displayed behind
glass, and the light, temperature and humidity in its environment are carefully
controlled to ensure that the artifacts will be preserved for generations to
come. Millions of guests have enjoyed their visit to the castle since it first
arrived at the Museum, and it remains a timeless reminder of the imagination,
ingenuity and craftsmanship of cultures and artisans all over the world.
Colleen Moore, stella del cinema muto,
fu sempre affascinata dalle bambole e dalle doll houses, tanto da
possederne una bellissima collezione, fino a che, nel 1928, iniziò a
creare la dolls house dei suoi sogni: il Fairy Castle. Con
l’aiuto di Horace Jackson, architetto e scenografo che lavorava presso
gli First National Studios, Colleen Moore costruì un "castello fiabesco"
in miniatura. Per gli interni chiese aiuto all’
art director e
interior designer Harold
Nel 1935 più di 700 artigiani specializzati, tra cui gioiellieri ed
incisori di giada cinese, avevano prestato la loro opera per la
costruzione del castello che, all’epoca, conteneva più di 2000 preziose
miniature, a fronte di un costo di quasi 500.000 dollari.
Colleen Moore, visto il
grande successo che la sua opera d’arte riscuoteva, durante il 1935
organizzò un tour di beneficenza per i bambini bisognosi in giro per gli
Stati Uniti, nelle maggiori città americane. Il tour ebbe un grande
successo e la
tra il 1935 ed il 1939, riuscì a raccogliere più di 650.000 dollari da
donare in beneficenza.
Nel 1949 Major Lenox
Lohr, direttore del
Museum of Science and Industry di
Chicago, riuscì a convincere Colleen Moore ad esporre il Fairy Caste nel
proprio museo. A tutt’oggi, il “Fairy Caste” è collocato lì, protetto da
un vetro e costantemente monitorato per quanto riguarda luce, umidità e
temperatura, preservandolo così per le generazioni future, affinchè
possano continuare ad ammirare quella che, a ragione, viene considerata
una delle più belle e singolari dolls houses del mondo.
Collen Moore continuò a perfezionare il
Fairy Caste fino a poco prima della sua morte, avvenuta all’età di 87