Masterpieces in Miniature: Pallant House's Model Art Gallery opens

16 July 2021

Something small, but very significant, has just opened in Chichester. Visitors to Pallant House Gallery can now admire a miniature art gallery exhibiting tiny pieces of art that have been created by a number of famous, contemporary British artists.

The 2021 Model Art Gallery acts as a time capsule of contemporary British art – marking a unique period of British life during the COVID-19 pandemic - and as a piece of art and architecture in its own right. The model art gallery aims to re-frame, diversify and augment interaction with artwork; engaging new audiences through offering dynamic perspectives on art and the spaces through which they are viewed. It follows previous model art galleries in the Gallery’s collection from 1934 and 2000.

Working alongside Wright & Wright Architects, we provided the Lighting Design for the small-scale project.

"The miniature gallery is beautifully conceived, built and stocked with genuine art works, so when we were challenged to design its lighting we treated it just as we are treating its larger siblings - the new and refurbished galleries at Pallant House. Thus we made computer models, tried out different approaches and did all we could to make sure the quality of light did the works justice. Not everything works the same at the Lilliputian scale and, along with Wright and Wright and the model builders, we rejected quite a few options before we found what worked best. We are delighted with the results and now look forward to tackling the lighting for the whole Pallant House site." - Nick Cramp, Senior Partner and Light & Air Leader

Taking up an invitation from Pallant House Gallery in West Sussex, more than 30 leading British artists have made tiny works for a doll’s house-size exhibition, Masterpieces in Miniature, that provides a microcosm of contemporary visual arts. Mini sculptures, oil paintings, ceramics and photographs from veteran artists such as Michael Craig-Martin and Maggi Hambling to the 2017 Turner prize winner Lubaina Himid – the first black woman to win the prize – are now on display in a specially designed model gallery, alongside key names established in the Young British Artist era, such as Gary Hume, Michael Landy, Gillian Wearing and Julian Opie.

The artworks range from the size of a pound coin up to 20cm, but no bigger. The model exists within its own scale and was designed specifically for the miniature artwork - each artist was given dimensions of 100 x 150 mm to work within. Its scale was carefully considered to provide the best viewing experience, and stands at just under 2m tall. 

With the profound effects of the pandemic on health and wellbeing, the collaborative team sought to create something inspiring and uplifting; the outcome of many minds and hands working together in difficult times. 

We are also involved in the capital development project that the Pallant House Gallery intends to undertake, which will focus on the recently purchased Coach House, as well as improvements to the current buildings. The project will increase access to the collections for public, staff and volunteers, improve facilities needed for vital collections care, will enable wider interpretation of the collections, enhance a more diverse engagement with the collections and will establish a more resilient and sustainable organisation.

Featured Project

Pallant House Model Art Gallery