Warwickshire Museum's Marble Books

Book fashioned from brecciated (naturally fractured and re-cemented) marble. Warwickshire Museum collection.
Image courtesy of Warwickshire Museum

Amongst the original collections of the Warwickshire Natural History and Archaeological Society, the Warwickshire Museum cares for a number of tiny ‘books’ (actually decorative pieces), carved from different varieties of marble.

Popular items

These were evidently very popular collectable items during the 19th century. They are smaller than real books; none are more than around ten centimetres in height. The quality of carving is quite detailed, though some of the examples in our collection have suffered some subsequent damage due to the soft nature of the stone. We don’t know how long these items were fashionable for, though they are evidently difficult enough to acquire at the present day.

What is ‘marble’?

It is important to note that the term ‘marble’ can refer to true marble in the geological sense (a metamorphic rock), as well as those varieties of limestone (a chemically similar sedimentary rock), that will also take a good polish for ornamental purposes. Limestone and marble, being made up of the mineral calcite, is quite soft (steel will easily scratch and cut it), and is therefore more easily worked than tougher rock types such as granite.

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