21 January 2019

Review: In Miniature - How Small Things Illuminate the World by Simon Garfield

In Miniature by Simon Garfield book cover
RRP $29.99 AUD
Published October 2018
* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *

Miniatures always inspire awe and wonder and Simon Garfield has turned his sharp focus on the world of miniatures in his latest offering In Miniature - How Small Things Illuminate the World.

I've always admired the workmanship of modellers and creators of miniatures, whether they be doll houses, matchstick ships, micro sculptures or tiny models. In the 1990s I wore a treasured pendant that contained a grain of rice with my name on it. The skill, determination and creativity of miniature artists never ceases to amaze me.

Seeing Queen Mary's Dolls' House in 2012 was definitely a highlight, and reading here about the process of inviting the country's best artisans to contribute to the house was illuminating.

Simon Garfield covers some of my favourite topics in the world of miniatures here, including Rod Stewart's famous model train collection, the popularity of the YouTube micro cooking channel Miniature Space as well as the work of artists Slinkachu and Tatsuya Tanaka. I also love the lead pencil sculptures and art in the eye of a needle.

The clever cover design of this book is to be commended. The hardcover image is complemented by the creative and eye-pleasing partial dust jacket that transforms the image to make it look like an open box of matches. Brilliant! Having said that, I wish the photographs inside had been in colour, or at least of a better quality. The ink on the black and white photographs came off onto my fingers while reading and given I read in a bed with white linen, this was bad news.

In Miniature offers more than an overview on the world of miniatures. Garfield examines the world of miniatures in an essay writing style. This meant that I dipped in and out of it, sampling a chapter or more at a time. In Miniature is recommended reading for anyone interested in the world of miniatures. Whether you're an aspiring artist or hobbyist creator, a collector, an enthusiast or just in awe of the work, I think you'll enjoy this.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

Check out my review of Just My Type by Simon Garfield.

For more on dolls houses, check out my review of Dolls' Houses from the V&A Museum of Childhood by Halina Pasierbska, also courtesy of Allen & Unwin.

Would you like to comment?

  1. I have enjoyed other books by Simon Garfield so will look this one up

  2. Thanks Diana, I hope you enjoy it. He has a knack for honing in on interesting topics.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!