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Rylands show is mini marvel

28 Jun 2012

A unique exhibition of miniature books, bindings and models– all with a Shakespearean theme - is to go on show at The University of Manchester’s John Rylands library from tomorrow (29 June).

Rylands show is mini marvel

The exquisite items, seen for the first time in the UK, pay homage to the art and craftsmanship of the hand bound book and are loaned by Neale M. Albert, a life-long collector based in New York City.

On display are miniature Knickerbocker Press Shakespeare editions bound by 26 internationally renowned designers of bindings.

Also included are the bindings of the miniature book of Brush Up Your Shakespeare, the name of a song by Cole Porter from the musical Kiss Me, Kate - his take on The Taming of the Shrew.

The book, which was published by Mr Albert's Piccolo Press, also doubles as the name of the exhibition.

The public will be able to see a miniature model of the Globe Theatre, a Shakespeare book folded in the shape of a dragon and a tiny figure of William Shakespeare, seated on a miniature carver chair.

There will also be a miniature bookcase in the form of an apse and a miniature book stand-  both the result of a collaboration between Mr. Albert and his friend Tim Gosling, the London bespoke furniture designer.

In a 2008 exhibition at The John Rylands Library Mr Albert exhibited a collection of 250 miniature books, which he donated to New York’s The Grolier Club in memory of his daughter Deborah, who had recently succumbed to breast cancer.

Neale M. Albert said: "The people who made the items in this exhibition are artists. They all had a free hand. I never tell an artist what to do. I give a commission and then I challenge the artist to do his or her best work for me. I believe that the work in this exhibition meets that test."

Rachel Beckett, Head of Special Collections, The John Rylands Library. "I am delighted that Neale Albert has chosen the Library as the UK venue for this exciting exhibition of exquisite items from his unique collections. Having been privileged to a sneak preview whilst the exhibition has been installed, I can say with confidence that our visitors are in for a real treat.”