In 1856, Elizabeth Gaskell discovered a trove of handmade miniature books created by Charlotte and Branwell Brontë in their youth that, as Gaskell later recalled, “contained an immense amount of manuscript, in an inconceivably small space.”
Far from being singular wonders, these two-inch volumes were part of a wide array of miniature marvels that filled the drawers and pockets of middle- and upper-class Victorians. Victorian miniatures pushed the boundaries of scientific knowledge, mechanical production, and human perception. To touch a miniature was to imagine what lay beyond these boundaries.
In this illustrated talk, Laura Forsberg guides listeners on a lively trip through Victorian literature, microscopic science, art history, children’s culture, and book production to show how miniatures offered scripts for expansive fantasies of worlds beyond perception.