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Titania’s Palace: A Dollhouse For a Fairy Queen

The story goes that Sir Neville Wilkinson, a British officer who served in the Second Boer War and the First World War, artist and dollhouse designer, was out in the garden of his home in 1907, when his three year old daughter Guendolen said she saw fairy run across the grass. His daughter’s vision was the inspiration for Sir Neville’s miniature palace to house Titania, Queen of the Fairies, along with Oberon, her Consort, and the Princesses Iris, Daphne, Pearl and Princes Noel and Zephyr.

The palace was handcrafted under the direction of James Hicks & Sons, who were Irish cabinet makers. The cabinet makers worked from detailed drawings done by Sir Neville. Titania’s Palace was begun in 1907 and completed in 1922. The completed palace had 18 rooms including the Hall of the Guilds, the Hall of the Fairy Kiss, the Chapel, Titania’s Boudoir, a Dining room, the Day Nursery, Princess Iris & Ruby’s room, Princess Daphne & Pearl’s room, Morning room, Royal Bedchamber, Oberon’s Study, Oberon’s Museum, and the Throne room. Included in the palace are more than 3,000 works of art and miniatures painstakingly handcrafted by artisans from around the world. Built on the scale of 1:12, the palace was constructed out of 100 year old mahogany. The Palace was built in eight separate sections and has both electric light and heat. The completed dollhouses measures 116” in length and is 19” wide and 30” in height. The walls are done in bronze and there is real stained glass throughout the Palace. The floors are inlaid wood crafted by Sir Neville’s friend and fellow officer Colonel Alexander Gillespie.

Queen Mary officially opened Titania’s Palace to the public on July 6th, 1922. The Palace was meant to raise money for children’s charities. The Palace traveled to more than 160 cities in Great Britain and was displayed in North and South America, New Zealand, Canada, The Netherlands, Australia, and Ireland where it was created. Ireland hoped to be the final home for Titania’s Palace but the dollhouse was eventually bought by Lego in 1978 and was displayed in Legoland in Denmark until 2007. It is now on loan to the Egeskov Castle in Denmark owned by Count Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig Bille.

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