Study of Spirit Beadlet anemone
2018. h:25.5cms x w:16.5cms (framed).
The spirit stores (where specimens are preserved in liquid inside glass jars) of the Natural History Society of Northumbria is necessarily a hidden place and we are not often directly confronted by the physicality of death. So, in referencing this method of preservation of the tiny body of the dead animal, I felt this little creature was rather poignant. During my research I came across this statement in R. L. Manuels's 'British Anthozoa' on page 3: 'Compared to its living counterpart a pickled anemone is a miserable and singularly unattractive object.' In its defence, I felt compelled to give this little creature the attention its life, death and preserved state deserved. The distortion of the specimen necessarily observed through the curve of the glass bottle created beautiful and mysterious extensions to the form of the tiny anemone. Looking down at the specimen from above focuses attention onto the Unique Object Number written on the glass lip. To redress the balance in favour of this charming little corpse, I combined different scales and viewpoints, noted preservation liquid ingredients, included biographical details of this specimen and quoted a text about the wonder of the natural world. After the exhibition the Keeper of Biology asked if my drawing could be referenced in the archival records of this anemone: one of my finest artistic achievements to date and of which I am most proud and moved.
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