Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Spirit Collection at the Darwin Centre

Every now and again me and my friend Natalie (owner of the gorgeous gallery 339 in Halifax) go and have a couple of days in London for our fix of inspiration and I have just returned from a couple of fantastic days. The sun shone (a little too hard on Oxford Street mid Monday afternoon....yes we were crazy to be there but we had somewhere to go...) and we soaked up the atmosphere, visited inspiring design shops and ate astoundingly good food. Ottolenghi had divine salads and I will be attempting to make some of those myself (might buy the cookbook). Yauatcha for Dim Sum in the evening was spectacular with beautifully presented dishes and amazing interior design...oh and the longest fish tank I have ever seen.

We were travelling light so I didn't take my camera out much (it's heavy and I had sunburned shoulders) and when I arrived at The Natural History Museum yesterday I have to say I was kicking myself. I haven't been there since I was a child (I have photos of me next to the dinosaurs) and since seeing that Museum of Life series on TV recently I have been very excited about going. I was a bit awe struck actually. What I really wanted to do was go rummaging in all those storerooms and look in drawers of butterflies and beetles, something you can't do unless you work there BUT my desire was fulfilled when I found the Spirit Collection in the Darwin Centre. Oh My Goodness. Jars and jars of creatures preserved in alcohol, some 200 years old all labelled and dated with curly old fashioned handwriting. Big jars, small jars, jars within jars full of fascinating shapes and textures. Plants, mollusc's, fish, starfish, snakes, seahorses, even mammals. It may sound gruesome. In fact there was a large party of school kids screeching and errrring and saying 'Oh my God sir have you seen this?' with a mixture of fascination and disgust. When they had gone I was all alone and I took my shoes off (London feet ACHING) got my notebook out and had to draw them.

I had such a lovely time and have come back full of ideas and inspired to do some drawings (never mind this light making lark!). Must remember to go more often!


whitney-anne said...

That's Museum Leg that you were suffering from. Haven't been there since my daughter was little but it's a wonderful place - thank god for the Victorians.

rossichka said...

It's so nice that you've found a new source of inspiration! I'm waiting eagerly for your next steps.

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