BlueBeard’s Castle


2000 –  Two solander boxes with interconnected trays of three and four units respectively, which stack to form a castle or open out to display seven tiny books in recessed trays representing the doors to BlueBeard’s Castle.

Height and width of each box 15 x 24. Boxes are covered with matt black bookcloth inside and out, and contain viewing slits for the voyeur to peer inside when the ‘book’ stands as a castle. The books are held in place by a ‘wave’ of red covered card representing blood.


The walls are inscribed with red handwriting. On the outside with ‘BlueBeard’s Castle’ on one unit, ‘Carolyn Trant 2002’ on the other. On the inside with the seven titles of the doors:
The Room of Torture
The Room of Weapons
The Room of Treasures
The Secret Gardens
The Vast Estates
The Lake of Tears
The Last Door
And the inscription – ‘Every fairy story comes from the depths of blood and fear’ – Franz Kafka.

Three trays are lined with black net sewn with red beads of blood.

All seven miniature books are sewn and bound with black leather from bikers jackets with metal attachments:
Four door-like clasps and a seam in the leather for the Room of Torture
Four rows of tiny metal beads for the Room of Weapons
A single pearl nestling in a scrunched cluster of leather for the Room of Treasures
Furrows of leather and silver rose beads for the Secret Gardens
A silver moon-face over waves of moulded leather for the Vast Estates
Mother of pearl teardrop and circle for the Lake of Tears
And three silver masks for the Last Door.


All books measure two and a quarter inches by two and three quarter inches by half an inch; are fully removable, with black and red endpapers and an average of twenty pages of handwritten and hand drawn text and images in red, grey and black.

The text is a loose translation and interpretation from Bela Balazs’ Hungarian libretto for Bela Bartok’s only opera – BlueBeard’s Castle.

After two pages, the last ‘book’ becomes a box or room with three shrouded and bloodied figures suspended from the ‘ceiling’.

The whole folds down to a compact unit or book that measures 6 by 9 and a quarter by 10 inches displaying the title and the makers name and year of completion.