“Just absolutely exquisite!”
- Prince of Qatar
This Naderman harp by Pierre Mourey is a one-of-a-kind miniature replicating the 1797 original displayed in the National Music Museum.
The Kathleen Savage Browning Miniatures Collection has been a four decades long labor of love that has taken Kaye Browning around the globe and into the studios of the most talented miniatures artisans in the field. What has resulted is one of the finest assemblages of collectible miniatures in the world, now on display at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center in Maysville, Kentucky.
Kaye’s collection represents exquisite one-twelfth-scale miniatures (one inch to one foot) which have been created using the same materials and techniques master artisans have used throughout history to create the full-sized items. Imagine a perfect replica of a gold gilded Naderman harp and violins, violas, and cellos that can actually play musical notes, 18th century furniture handcrafted using 300-year-old wood and antique tools, and the tiniest of necklaces, bracelets, and rings made from real gold, pearls, and gemstones.
Visitors to the KSB Miniatures Collection will see those and thousands of other individual art pieces, room boxes, houses, and vignettes in the 3,300-square-foot gallery which was built in 2007 to showcase the collection. From historically accurate recreations to whimsical interpretations of fairy tales, every wall and display case offers insights into history as well as artistry.
“What makes many of these pieces so special is not only the craftsmanship and dedication to historical accuracy, but the provenance of the original items,” says Kaye as she points out a bronze miniature of Atlas holding a working terrestrial globe on his shoulders. The piece is based on the work of Lartigue and Lennel who made the original terrestrial and celestial globes for Louis XVI in the late 1700s. The originals are still displayed in the library at the Palace of Versailles.
The bronze miniature terrestrial globe is based on one made for Louis XVI in the late 1700s. By Pierre Mourey.
Kaye’s combined love of history and collectible miniatures has not only guided her acquisitions and commissions over the past forty years, but has also provided unique educational experiences for the thousands of school children who have visited the gallery. “The miniatures themselves draw the children into the room boxes, but they quickly become focused on the historical aspects of the scenes and then the educational dialogue regarding history begins,” explains Kaye, who does many of the tours herself.
In addition, groups from around the world have visited the gallery to see rare and one-of-a-kind items that are exclusive to the KSB Miniatures Collection, such as Spencer House, the magnificent recreation of the ancestral home of Princess Diana. Created by artisans Kevin Mulvany and Susie Rogers, the structure is filled with three floors of fine furnishings and decorative arts objects all true to the mid-1700’s era. Many items are exact one-twelfth-scale replicas of items currently displayed in the palatial London town house.
Many other time periods and geographical locations are featured throughout the gallery including three structures historically significant to Maysville: the Russell Theatre composed of 11,000 handcrafted bricks, the Cox Building featuring the Kilgus Drug Store as it appeared when Kaye was a child, and the Bethel Baptist Church complete with small hymnals. New in 2014 was the addition of the Russell Theatre miniature interior, replicating one of only a handful of atmospheric theaters left in the United States.
Kaye’s collection has been featured in publications internationally including American Miniaturist, Miniature Collector, The Dolls’ House Magazine, and Miniaturas, as well as in Kentucky Monthly and Kentucky Living. What began as a labor of love by one collector now serves to astonish artists, history buffs, collectors, and anyone new to the world of fine art miniatures. We welcome you to learn more about Kaye and the collection by visiting the Exhibit section of the Web site and Kaye’s blog, accessible through tabs at the top of the page.