Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures

Anne C. Bromer, Author, Julian I. Edison, Author . Abrams $40 (215p) ISBN 978-0-8109-9299-3

P ublished in conjunction with a May 16–July 28 exhibition at the Grolier Club in New York, this handsome volume traces the history of books ranging in height from three inches to less than a quarter of an inch. Included are books of many kinds, often containing beautiful illustrations—illuminated medieval and Renaissance devotional books, including the world’s smallest Bible, chained to its own little lectern; Arabic and Indian scriptures; and the complete works of Shakespeare in a miniature revolving bookcase. Some of these books were intended for amusement, such as those made for Queen Mary’s dolls’ house; others have more practical uses, such as small traveling libraries and little Hebrew books that could be concealed in times of persecution. The smallest book ever is a New Testament printed in 24-karat gold on a silicon chip. There are elegant bindings in materials such as leather, mother-of-pearl and gold filigree. In their informative text, Bromer, a rare book dealer, and Edison, a collector, discuss the diverse contents of these tiny volumes, as well as papermaking, printing processes and publishers. Their delightful book is a feast for the eye, with more than 260 color illustrations in which most of the books are pictured in actual size. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/23/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
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