Neale Albert, an attorney who has derived pleasure from his extraordinary hobby of publishing and collecting miniature books, as well as miniature furniture, has some 250 mini bindings on display in an unusual and dazzling exhibition at the Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street. Open to the public, The Neale M. Albert Collection of Miniature Designer Bindings show will continue through November 4, 2006.
It is quite amazing to stroll through the Grolier Club’s 2nd floor gallery and view the assembly of these beautiful bindings that Albert commissioned from such book artists as Tim Ely, Roger Powell, Santiago Brugalla, Jean de Gonet and others from various countries.
Some bindings sparkle jewel-like, some are especially delicately engraved. All are so compact that you could hold them in the palm of your hand. The craftsmanship involved is impeccable, and one senses the love the goes into such artistic creations, as well as in the passion of the dedicated collector.
One example is George Kirkpatrick’s version of the “Atlas of the British Empire,” a facsimile of a book in the library of Queen Mary’s Dollhouse. It is a tiny morocco-bound volume housed within a leather globe, contained in a wooden box.
Roger Powell and Peter Waters created what might be called a chained library—six mini books shackled to a wooden lectern, fitted in a tooled-leather box.
The works almost defy description—you must see them for yourself. The exhibition itself is attractively and charmingly designed to house Albert’s treasures, which one can on this special occasion view up close and study, both for their overall look and for the fine art involved in the use of assorted materials to construct the bindings.
The exhibit is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Admission is free.