Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Arts Tuesday-Neale Albert's Miniature Books

Yesterday's NY Times blog had an article by Alex Vadukul about Neale Albert who has a collection of over 4,000 miniature books. Mr. Albert was always a collector. The miniature books began when he needed to furnish a dollhouse model of Cliveden House in England, where he and his wife had spent a weekend.

Here's a bit of the post:

Part of Mr. Albert’s book collection is stored in a “cottage” on top of the Upper East Side apartment building where he lives with his wife. A small bookcase built specifically for his miniatures, each shelf only a few inches high, is packed with rows of the stout creations, elegantly bound and held inside precious slipcases. There are more in his apartment and in 20-some boxes in storage.

In the field, Mr. Albert is known for commissioning what he calls “miniature designer bindings” – the binding, in this context, referring mainly to the covers — that he believes elevate the objects to art. “A designer binding is a book binding usually made on commission,” he said, “and done by a binder who is not just a craftsman, but an artist.”

A leather-bound cover for a binding of “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” (part of a collection of bindings he had commissioned for a miniature book version of the Cole Porter song) was interpreted as a pinstripe suit that might be worn at a hot jazz club. A metallic cover for a book of Shakespeare plays bears a carving of a medieval scene. Mr. Albert commissions binders mostly in England and around Europe, and years can pass before the high-precision works are sent back to him.

NY Times article: Redefining A Little Library

Bookbinding Now Podcast: Neale Albert (Scroll down to August 3, 2011

Grolier Club: Exhibition Catalog of The Neale M. Albert Collection of Miniature Designer Bindings

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