Lindisfarne Castle houses artist's miniature figures

VISITORS to a small castle in Northumberland are in for lots of little surprises over the next few weeks.

Artist Laura Johnson and her minature figures on Lindisfarne
Artist Laura Johnson and her minature figures on Lindisfarne

VISITORS to a small castle in Northumberland are in for lots of little surprises over the next few weeks.

Artist Laura Johnson has peopled each room in Lindisfarne Castle with the miniature figures which are her speciality.

Around 300 of the tiny figures tell the story of life in and around the castle when it was owned a century ago by Country Life magazine proprietor Edward Hudson.

Visitors then included Gertrude Jekyll, who designed the castle garden, the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and the cellist Guilhermina Suggia.

Laura’s work is the first art exhibition to be staged at the National Trust castle.

The exhibition, Tiny Tales, will run until November 4.

Laura, 25, who has a degree in embroidery, makes her figures from cotton yarn mounted on a wire frame. She has even made one of herself.

She said: “Lindisfarne Castle is a lovely location and is an amazing place to stage what is my first major exhibition.

“Finding the tiny figures will be great fun, especially for children.”

Clare Ashby, visitor services supervisor at the castle, said: “The exhibition captures some of the history behind the castle, including some of its past visitors, and highlight stories of Lindisfarne that can go unnoticed amidst its unique architectural history.

“This is an amazing exhibition and we are delighted to be working with Laura on such a unique venture.

“Her miniature figures will capture the imagination of all ages so there really is something for everyone to enjoy.”

Laura is a freelance prop maker predominately based at Pinewood Studios, creating props for advertising, television and for the film industry.

It was during her university days while studying at Manchester that she began working in miniature.

“It was a fantastic course in which I could experiment with fabrics. During my time off from prop making and miniature work, I adore creating fabric gifts,” said Laura.

“The reason for working on this tiny scale is the challenge of creating details as small as possible.

“There is nothing more endearing than capturing a scene in miniature and making the image fun.

“Some of the rooms inside Lindisfarne Castle are quite small, so what better place to discover a delightful miniature world?

“From lime kiln workers to cellists, from architects to royalty, the building has been a fort, a castle and a home to a wide variety of people who are recreated in miniature form, in the context through which they experienced the castle.”

The idea for the exhibition came when the castle’s property manager Simon Lee spotted some of Laura’s miniature figures, depicting factory workers, on show at Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire.

He said: “I love Laura’s work and Lindisfarne Castle seemed the perfect place for this type of exhibition.

“The combination of her miniature figures and the rich history of the castle is such an unusual approach to telling stories in an artistic and creative fashion that we just had to give it go.”

Laura’s prop work has included movies such as the James Bond film Skyfall, the Sherlock Holmes production A Game of Shadows and Huck, based on Mark Twain’s novel.

She has also worked on TV commercials and contributed to the Christmas window display at Harrods’ store in London.

Her miniature figures capture the imagination of all ages so there really is something for everyone

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