Object Lessons

Object Lessons

Author and illustrator Nina Chakrabarti's latest book is all about collecting – a subject that's very close to her heart. A collection can be large or small, temporary or permanent. Some collections are lovingly assembled over a whole lifetime, while others just last for an afternoon…


Nina's book is a real treat for young collectors – it's full of beautiful colour illustrations, with lots of cool stickers and plenty of space to write and add your own favourite objects. There's even a special envelope for you to start a collection of your very own. We caught up with Nina to find out more about the new book and her own collections:

It looks like you had a lot of fun making the book, is it something you’ve been thinking about doing
for a while?
I've always been fascinated with collections, whether it’s stamps, pots in a museum or someone’s collection of wrestling memorabilia or stones from their favourite beaches. I like drawing collections as it's a way of exploring my inner collector without having to acquire the physical objects themselves.

What are your favourite collections to visit?
I love the collections at The Pitt Rivers Museum. There's just so much to look at there and many fascinating stories behind the objects themselves and how they came to be in the museum.


Photographed by Ivan Jones

photographed by Ivan Jones


Apart from books and records, what do you collect yourself?
I don't really collect anymore. I used to collect as a kid. I collected stamps, and Indian comic books about gods and goddesses, records, ice-cream wrappers, foil bottle tops as well as doo-dads and ephemera. When I left India in my early teens I had to leave my various collections behind apart from my stamp collection (which I still have). Now, I tend to draw my obsessions and get the collecting bug out that way.

Where do you keep them, and do you catalogue your collections?
They live with me in the tiny flat I share with my husband. I am supposed to be going through my records and giving some to the charity shop so we can have more space but I find it very difficult as each record makes me remember some moment or other so I keep delaying the de-cluttering session. I do catalogue them but only in a way that makes sense to me and no-one else. So, for example, a category might be songs that make me feel melancholy or songs I listen to when I'm on my own(this is quite a big section!).


Nina Chakrabarti's 'First Stamp Album photographed by Ivan Jones


Nina Chakrabarti's stamp collection photographed by Ivan Jones

When does a collection become an obsession?
When you can't get out the door for something falling on your head.

What would you collect if space and money were no object?
I love clothes and dressing up so would love to visit the best vintage stores the world over and collect the most amazing wardrobe ever.

What are your top tips for fledgling collectors?
Collect something you love. Start small and don't be afraid to be eclectic.


Nina Chakrabarti photographed by Ivan Jones

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