Sunday, March 29, 2009

Feeling a Bit Royal This Evening?

It's been a while since I posted about something simply because it's awesome beauty and astounding craftsmanship is both inspirational and just plain ol' down home fun!

So, if you're ready, let's take a tour. If you're not familiar with Colleen Moore and her nothing-short-of-incredible miniature fairy castle, get ready! This thing just totally knocks me out!

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.

We will start in the kitchen. Over the door are the 3 Little Pigs, and to the right, Jack and Jill tumbling down the hill. The copper stove in the back of the room is the stove in which the wicked witch locked Hansel and Gretel.

The set of china on the table has the Queen of England's crest on it. This is Royal Doulton china, and two sets were made, one for the Queen of England's doll house, and the other for Colleen's fairy castle.

The next room is the dining room with King Arthur's round table in the center. Beside the gold plates are wee knives and forks, also of gold. The glasses are crystal and most of them are over a hundred years old. The tapestries on the wall, which are needlepoint made in Vienna, are arguably the smallest stitches that have ever been stitched. You can barely see them, even under a magnifying glass.

In Cinderella's Drawing Room, the floor was made in China years ago and is of rose quartz and jade. The chandelier hanging in the center of the room is gold, hung with real diamonds and emeralds and pearls. To the left you can see a little chess table just waiting for the wee folk to come and play. The painting on the wall is of Cinderella. The vases at each side of the door going into the great hall, are made of carved amber over 500 years old. They came from the collection of the Dowager Empress of China.

The floating staircase in the center of the room has no railings because fairy folk balance themselves with their wings. The ceiling of this Great Hall is painted in scenes from the Grimm's and Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales. Over the door, at the back of the room, is 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. The tall glass windows at the rear are etched in fairy tales: Jack and the Beanstalk, The Princess and the 7 Swans, and Prince Charming.

In the roped-off sections are treasures of Fairyland. To the left and on that low rosewood table are Cinderella's glass slippers. They are hollow with high heels and have tiny red glass bows. These are the tiniest little glass slippers that have ever been made. Next, are the silver skates belonging, of course, to Hans Brinker. And under that glass bell the tiny chairs of the 3 Bears sit on the heads of pins, the largest weighing only 150,000th of an ounce. There are many things in the Great Hall which are very old. For example, you can see to the left, way back in the room, on a green pedestal, a statue; a bust of a woman. This is Roman and about 2,500 years old. Next to this, on that table, are 4 art objects; 3 are statues of the Goddess Isis, and are over 4,000 years old. The 4th, a Syrian vase, over 1,000 years old.

To your right behind the ropes, is a Battersea enameled table, and 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 a 3,000 year old alabaster jar from Egypt, used by ancient Egyptian ladies to keep their mascara. The other is a glazed porcelain jar from ancient Siam and is over 1,000 years old.

As you go around the corner, stop and look through the clear glass in the center of the chapel window. You will see the altar, and on this altar is a little tabernacle. On top of the tabernacle you will see a beautiful golden sunburst. In the center is a glass container holding a sliver of the true cross. This was given to Ms. Moore by her friend, Clare Booth Luce, when she was the Ambassador to Italy and had her first audience with the Pope. He gave this to her, and she gave it to Colleen to put in the chapel of the Fairy Castle.

We now stand in front of the chapel. Be very quiet and you can hear the music. It's coming from that little organ. To the right of the organ is the vigil light. In the top is a very large diamond. This was Colleen Moore’s mother's engagement ring, and when she died, she left it to the collector to put in the doll's house. So the vigil light is in memory of Ms. Moore’s mother.

The silver throne you see is a copy of the famous English throne in Westminster Abbey. The statue on the pedestal to the right, near the front, is a bust of Pope Pius IX, and on the bottom is the seal of the Vatican. On the prayer bench in front of the altar is a small Bible printed in 1840. It is the smallest bible in the world, and is printed from real type. On the prayer bench is a small book depicting the lives of the saints. This was done in woodcuts.

The library is done in a sea motif. Over the fireplace stands Captain Kidd with his treasure behind him. The door to the right shows Robinson Crusoe and his man Friday. Above the other door is Gulliver, pulling the Lilliputian ships through the gates of the city. The furniture has a sea motif and is verdigris copper. Seahorses and seasnails hold the shell-like furniture. This furniture is made for fairy folk who like to read in different positions. That chair turned up in front is made for a little elf who likes to read with his feet in the air.

The books are all real. There are over 100 and many hand written by some of our most prominent modern authors. These are first and only editions. On the reading stand is a dictionary. This was given to Ms. Moore by her father when she was only 5 years old, and that is what started her whole collection. There are many other printed books in the library, many of them over 150 years old. For a peek at one of the actual books, click here.

Now let us go to the upstairs of the castle. Here in the Princess' Bathroom, the crystal walls are etched to tell the story of Undine. The tub is made of silver, and real water flows from the dolphin's mouths.

The bed is the one that Sleeping Beauty slept in. The bedspread is the gold spider web that covered her for 100 years. The chairs are platinum and set with real diamonds and emeralds. The floor is made of mother of pearl.

This is the bathroom of the prince. It is made of alabaster. The mirror over the shell-like wash basin is gold set with a sapphire surrounded by diamonds. The gold Japanese chest is about 500 years old.

Next to the bath is the bedroom of the prince. This tells the story of the Russian Little Czar, Saltur. The story is carved in the furniture. The polar bear, of course, was shot by the prince. It's really an ermine skin, with a mouse's teeth. The sword standing by the wardrobe is Excalibur, King Arthur's sword.

Now if we look up in the roof of the doll house and there we see the attic. This is filled with all the things that were left over from the different rooms that belonged to the ancestors of the prince and the princess.

As you go around the corner, you will see the magic garden. Look for the weeping willow tree standing by the pool. It's the only weeping willow tree in the world that lives up to its name. Look closely and you will see it is crying real tears, which fall into the pool. Then notice that cradle that sits on the rocking tree. It is made of gold and pearls, and, of course, is the Rock-A-Bye Baby cradle. Above the three arches are represented the stories from Aesop's Fables.

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, and Aladdin's servant. The silver coach, well, of course you know that it is waiting for Cinderella to take her to the ball.

Painted on the balcony is the story of Don Quixote, and if you'll look in the sky you'll see Santa Claus' reindeer pulling his sleigh, because, of course, in Fairyland every day is Christmas.

I hope you've had a good time. And it was a great pleasure taking you on a tour of Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle.

I hope you've been entertained and YOU go make something exquisite!

¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´♥ Tristan ♥


HiHo said...

I'm humbled and... well now that I'm aware that anything I create is completely average... LOL. I am so blown away, good god it's amazing! My first look, thank you for the tour.

Shell said...

This is beautiful and breathtaking.

Anonymous said...

No words but STUNNING. Thank you for letting us see this Fairy Castle. wow..........

Sue said...

Wonderfully stunned and amazed, and as HiHo said, humbled.

Totally WOW!!!

Great post Tristan.

Anonymous said...

I am in awe...
The beauty, creativity and time it took to create such a masterpiece is breathtaking.
I wish I could make myself a life size one, complete with an alabaster tub. Hmmm....

The Joy of Nesting said...

One of the most amazing things to me is the exquisite artistry done with out modern tools not even magnifing glasses!!

Pattie ;)
Mazatlan Mx.

JANN said...

YOU give good tours !
Very many thanks for signing my guestbook/visiting my blogs !
I so appreciate all the hard work and effort you put into your postings. Hope your feeling good today...all the best for you Tristan

Irma's Rose Cottage said...

Wow! What a fantastic tour! Thanks for sharing. I am totally blown away. I have never seen such intricate work.

Hugs :)


vicki archer said...

Unbelievable! Imagine the patience to create this....xv

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post Tristan!
Over the years that I was involved in the Miniature Business I read many articles about this utterly amazing doll house. I love it not only for the miniature collections but the vast world history behind it. Each time I see it words can not express... I am in awe!! :)
Until Later!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

I well remember my mother talking about Colleen Moores castle. In fact, somewhere in the list of *things I no longer have nor know where they went*, we used to have a book on it with photos of all the rooms. I remember as a child just aching for a doll house of that caliber! (naturally, I was clueless as to what one like that would COST)
As an adult, it is delightful to see the post here because I am flooded with fond memories, and now, realize the work and detail and purely amazing craftsmanship that made the Castle.
And I am still stunned and there must be a bit of little girl left inside because I still would love to have one......much smaller though! Maybe a guest house....or something for the hired help!

Chris said...

That is amazing. If only I could be small enough to reside there.

Sugar and Spice Art Confections said...

I grew up near Chicago, so I have actually seen this in person several times. It is a stunning work of art! I love looking at my guide books of it!

Lisa Oceandreamer Swifka said...

I am absolutely stunned! The details are so magical it makes me ache for the want of it all. To see this all in person would be phenomenal.
How inspiring it all is and I tell you it goes to show this kind that fairies, fairy tales and castles are something we NEVER outgrow!
Thank you Tristen for sharing this and all the details!

Cassandra said...

WOW that is just amazing! Thanks so much for sharing. I can't believe all the detail.

mo.stoneskin said...

I tried commenting earlier but the music player was blocking the comment link :(

I find the castle simply incredible and I had no idea it existed!

Becs said...

Tristan, that is absolutely one of the most AMAZING art pieces I have ever seen! Spectacular! I just want to shrink down and live there... ANd, thanks for the visit and the comments to my blog. It means alot coming from you. BEcs

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

I am speechless. These are beyond lovely! Just found you at Berlin.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

How absolutely adorable!

I don't know if you have ever seen Queen Mary's Dollhouse, but it is pretty amazing, too. Someone gave me a video of it year's ago, and I love looking at it. This, too, is just amazing!

Thanks for sharing, Tristan...


Sheila :-)

ceecee said...

Fit for a queen! Have you seen Carrie Stettheimer's? Quite different but also wonderful.

Ingrid Mida said...

I spent the day constructing a miniature bodice and got so frustrated with my big clumsy fingers. I had to redo the tiny stitches so many times but it is nothing compared to the magnificent treasures in this lovely castle. I wonder how the artisans were able to make such exquisite work.

Lici de Souza said...

That was a great tour!

Gabriela said...


Thanks so much for sharing her art work, it's just spectacular!

Mr. Tristan you always have fabulous stuff to see here!


~ Gabriela ~

Anonymous said...

Tristan, your comment so reminds me of the canvasy ribbons on the veggies from the farmer's market back home. I loved the way they would get stained from the vegetables, I never kept them though... Which now gives me an idea!

Jeanie said...

Thanks for sending me the link to this, Tristan. I think I told you I once had a glorious book that I loaned to someone and it was never returned. That book now costs a fortune when you can find me. A good lesson! I saw this once in Chicago and I could hardly move. A whole museum, a fascinating one, I'm sure, but all I remember is this. Your post is terrific, really capturing all the detail and beauty of the castle. I'm so glad you sent the link.

And thank you for all your Gypsy visits. Your comments are so kind and thoughtful, they always make me feel very happy indeed.

I hope you enjoy Bernadette in Dolly. Wouldn't we all kill to see that one!