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Monday, 17 October 2011

Miniature books from Barbara Brear

When we were in South Africa for Christmas 2010, we enjoyed a special visit to Barbara Brear who makes incredible miniature books.  As a child growing up in Cape Town I thought I was the only miniaturist around, but have discovered long since I moved to the UK that the miniatures scene in SA is thriving.  Several years ago I came across Barbara's website whilst searching for information about miniatures in SA.  I subsequently saw one of her books in a museum display at Stellenbosch 6 years ago, and I've long wanted to own one (or more) of her 1/12th scale books.

Two years ago I finally decided it was time to invest in a couple of books and sent her an order.  However instead of asking her to post it internationally I asked if it would be okay for my sister to collect my order and bring it to me, as she was visiting the UK.  Barbara was very obliging and very kindly welcomed my sister and my nieces to her home to collect the books.  They had the treat of seeing the beautiful dolls house which Barbara had built during a week long workshop in England and shipped out to SA for completion.  I had seen the house on Barbara's website, and my nieces and sister were very impressed with it.

There was another book which I had my eye on, and having received the 2 beautiful finely crafted books (one 'open book' and one fully printed book), I knew I wanted a third, so I sent Barbara my order for the Victorian Children's poetry book and asked if I could collect it.  She was very welcoming when we arrived and my husband, daughters and I were enthralled by the dolls house and Barbara's description of how she had made many of its contents and of course the amazing books.  It was an enormous privilege to have met Barbara and her husband in their home and to have been made so welcome.  Her work is very inspiring and it has made me long to get working on my dolls house again, however that has had to wait as our new home which we moved into only a week after returning to the UK has needed plenty of decorating (and 9 months on there is still work to do).  My Greenleaf Westville reminds me every day that it is the main incentive for getting the human house done so I can concentrate on the mini house again!  I have finally managed to find the time to photograph my three books, but my photos don't do them justice.

My three Barbara Brear miniature books are:

Rip van Winkle (a South African tale) - a fully printed book
Mrs's Beeton's Cookbook - an 'open' book perfect for the kitchen table
Victorian Children's poetry - At home again - also a fully printed book
 Mrs Beeton, Rip van Winkle and Victorian Children's Poetry
(Mrs Beeton came temporarily mounted on a cocktail stick,
this will be removed)

 Opening Rip van Winkle

 These photos don't do the fine text justice - I couldn't get the camera
to focus closely enough, but the printing is clear and readable

Propping open the Victorian Children's poetry book
using Barbara's business cards

Propping open Rip van Winkle
using Barbara's business cards

Mrs Beeton's cookbook by Barbara Brear

And how about a few photos of my unfinished Greenleaf Westville dolls house:


Ann said...

Those tiny books are amazing and
the house is looking good.

Serenata said...

Those miniature books are wonderful indeed. I really must do some work on my dolls house. It really has been overlooked since I bought it.