As reported in the New York TimesJuly 16, 2015, the Astolat Dollhouse Castle, appraised as the most valuable dollhouse in the world for $8.5 million, will go on public display for the first time this holiday season to benefit children's charities including Autism Speaks.
Alan Goncharoff, CEO of the Astolat Dollhouse Castle project states, "Astolat provides a wonderful opportunity to bring this magnificent structure to the world while at the same time helping children in need. It's a win/win."
The hand-made structure contains 29 exquisite rooms along with 10,000 hand-crafted miniatures, paintings, furnishings, jewelry, dolls, animals, cars, and more created by famed artisans from around the world in such great detail that neither a high quality photo or a discerning eye can tell them apart from the full size version. In addition Astolat contains one of the world's foremost collections of antique miniatures that have historical significance as well as great value.
While people think of dollhouses as toys for children, adults often collect miniatures; in fact it was Colorado-based miniature artist Elaine Diehl who designed and built the Castle over a 13 year period in the 1980's and modeled it after Tennyson's Lady of Shallot. She then commissioned fine craftsmen from around the world to build an enormous collection of interior pieces, including carpenters, goldsmiths, glass blowers, and silversmiths. A few of the most notable miniature interior pieces include:
- A signed drop leaf secretary desk valued at over $5,000
- A miniature portrait valued at $1,840 painted with a brush containing one bristle
- A 1949 Jeep Station Wagon, valued at over $3,300
- A magnificent baby grand piano valued at over $7,000
- A miniature Bible from 1811 valued in the thousands
Astolat Dollhouse Castle has its own Wizard's Tower, wine cellar, ballroom, library, armory, princess bedroom, and trophy room. From its copper roof to the faux granite foundation, marble bathrooms, parquet floors, gold gilt trim, charming chapel, and rock wall wine cellar, it is an incredible work of art and craftsmanship.
Paula Gilhooley, curator for the Nassau County Museum of Art, stated: "Astolat is one of the finest miniature structures in the world… exhibiting a rare combination of sculpture, art, engineering and detail that set it apart from anything in existence today."
Astolat Castle is privately owned and has never been on view for the general public; however, it will be on display in New York City this holiday season to benefit children's charities. More details, photos, and video at www.astolatdollhousecastle.com