How to look at a “Miniature Castle”
© Copyright 2020 Gardenia Grant, Ryerson University.
This miniature model castle is designed with four towers, twenty white window frames, a dark green gabled roof and a pale pink exterior which all are typical elements found in castle images. These characteristics are not historically accurate but are perceived images of a castle that has been reinforced by various sources often starting as early as childhood. Picture books and classic cartoons that had a castle using a similar pastel colour, foliage creeping around it and towers are all elements seen within the image. The joy felt as a child is being reawakened by the nostalgia triggered by this classic design. The power of nostalgia draws viewers in because it has a sense of comfort and familiarity evoked by memories (Do and Rebecca 37). Giving readers a sense of connection through the shared ideology of what a castle is and the familiarity the picture evokes because of this. Which is why it is being employed to attract one’s gaze to the model.
Furthermore, it also uses sparse details in order to encourage creativity from viewers. The main designs are the roof and tower tiles. Which are raised upward to be pointed and are arranged in a row of half circles. Around the edge of the tower is tiny gold painted swirls as decoration. While there is also a small roof extending out of the side with two arches connected to it. These are the only detailed aspects of the image that stand out. There are no other specific characteristics to make it unique. The absence of other details and the conformity to the norm leaves a lot of space for viewers’ interpretation. With so many design options open further ideas can be imagined creating a sense of individuality to it. This results in narrative imagination because it appeals to what the creator assumes viewers would recognize or relate to in order to give agency or “power” and a sense of connection to the subject, brought about by there imagined interpretation to the source (Brockmeier 228). A viewer could easily visualize aspects from other castles or their own ideas of a castle based upon such a phenomenon that works to capture their attention.
Another way to encourage creativity is through size. Historically, castles are intricate, with designs to symbolize power, wealth and influence. The designer could have included more features to display that. Instead, the opposite is applied to make it appear smaller than it already is. This is accomplished through the castle’s body being the general shape of a rectangular prism and the designer choosing the base to be on its square face (the smallest side). Resulting in a compressed structure resembling a house if you removed the towers. This is done to prevent viewers from feeling “small” compared to the structure. By creating an illusion of a castle being small both literally and visually it puts viewers in a position of power, as the structure is easier to take in visually making it easy to mold to the imagination.
Brockmeier, Jens. “Reaching for Meaning: Human Agency and the Narrative Imagination.”
Theory & Psychology, vol. 19, no. 2, Apr. 2009, pp. 213–233,
Do Rozario, Rebecca-Anne C. “The Princess and the Magic Kingdom: Beyond Nostalgia, the.
Function of the Disney Princess.” Women’s Studies in Communication, vol. 27, no. 1,
2004, 34-59.doi: 10.1080/07491409.2004.10162465.
Grant, Gardenia. A castle designed for you. (Unknown). 21 Jan, 2020. Private collection.
Images in this online exhibit are either in the public domain or being used under fair dealing for the purpose of research and are provided solely for the purposes of research, private study, or education.