At 9 feet tall and 800 pounds, with 7 levels, 29 meticulous rooms, and more than 30,000 miniature pieces in its collection, the Astolat Dollhouse Castle — now publicly displayed for the first time in nearly two decades — is a doll-loving kid’s dream come true.
Unfortunately, you can’t play with this famous little castle, appraised this year as the single most valuable dollhouse in the world.
But the good news is, after many years spent in storage, you can actually see it (woooo, happy holidays!). The dollhouse is on view at the Shops at Columbus Circle in New York City’s Time Warner Center through December 8.
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The home was designed between 1974 and 1987 by master miniaturist Elaine Diehl. It took 13 years to build, and includes parquet floors, framed mirrors, tapestries, gold chandeliers, and fireplaces, all replicated in precise detail. There are tiny bottles filled with real whiskey and stamp-size portraits hung on the walls that were crafted in the style of the Old Masters, using a single-haired paintbrush.
The Dollhouse Castle’s namesake was inspired by the fantasy castle Astolat in English poet Alfred Tennyson’s poem “Lady of the Lake.”
Only two dollhouses are up to this level of craftsmanship: Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, on display at Windsor Castle in England, and Fairy Castle, created by American silent-film actress Colleen Moore, on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
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