I Started to read this book at three in the morning with a gurgling wide eyed baby on my lap, intending to read just a few pages until Sammy gave in to sleep I began. As the pages turned in my hands and my eyes grew heavy I realised I had been reading for well over an hour lost in the history of Faith Bradford and her miniature collection.
At 69 years old Faith Bradford without a girl in her family to leave her collection to decided to donate it instead to the museum she often visited as a girl. The narrative winds in and out of miniature fantasy, museum politics, and both the museums and Bradfords personal history, bringing together photographs and typed manuscripts of the doll house occupants and their scrapbook of soft furnishings. Peppered with nostalgic musings anddescriptions about Bradford such as 'her favourite colours were lavender and grey...' also ' ... Cutting a grandmotherly figure on the floor of the museum, she wore her hair pulled up under a hat fixed with a pin!'
I enjoyed the notions of Faith as a girl her interests, parades, soda fountains and ice cream parlors and like so many miniaturists the eternal hunt for miniatures, seeing an object as something to be used and cherished within ascene, a thimble could be a waste paper basket, Bradford explained 'Everything looks like something else to me.'
I think Bradford must have been an eccentric soul, never married she described her and her sister as 'not very attractive', during the summer she stayed at the back of her sister and brother-in-laws property in a converted chicken coop! these little details stack up throughout this little book adding charm and insight and for me a little bit of dottiness that I found endearing.
The second half of the book is choc filled with coloured photographs of each room, each tiny detail, from the lamp with its missing globe in the attic to the faithful family dog sat by the fire in the library. Concluding with Faiths typed scrapbook filled with tiny fabric remnants of used textiles.
In summary this book works on many levels, not only does it show readers a history of the museum, and an insight into Faith Bradfords creative dream, but it also showcases through text and photographs (deliciously tactile in the scrapbook section) an inspiring room by room account into a magical vintagedollhouse. Letting the reader decided to delve into the informative text or forgothe descriptive museum history and just sit wondering at the miniature marvels in each glossy image.