Charles Gunner Miniatures

The paintings of Windsor Castle on grains of rice were created by Charles Gunner in around 1936 as part of his miniature history of the royal residence.

Gunner achieved international recognition for his spectacular microscopic writing and painting. There are broadcasts on Pathé News from 1936 and 1937 of Gunner using a fountain pen and watercolours to create extraordinary pieces, some on card, others on grains of rice, like the above Windsor Castle.

There are several examples of his work in the Royal Collection. Queen Mary bought Gunner’s ‘History of Windsor Castle’ which was a microscopic half-inch square and perfectly bound book. This was possibly to add to her dolls’ house; the largest and most beautiful dolls house in the world.

Other examples of Charles Gunner’s work are ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ written out 23 times in the space of a threepenny bit and King George V’s Christmas broadcast speech within the area of a sixpence.

Photography: Brian Wood. © Egham Museum

This is one of our History of Surrey in 50 Objects. It was chosen from around 150 items suggested by the Curators and Collections Officers of Surrey Museums to represent a moment, person or event which shaped or changed our county.

Visit the Explore Our Collections page on this site to see all 50 objects.

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