Artist’s Unique Views Of Scilly’s Natural Life To Go On Display

gemma anderson etchingDrawings and etchings created during last year’s survey of Scilly’s flora and fauna by the Natural History Museum will be going on display in Cornwall next year.

The team of scientists spent three months cataloguing specimens collected from across the islands.

But unusually they were joined by artist Gemma Anderson, who is also a PhD researcher and Associate Lecturer of Drawing at Falmouth University. She studies the links between art and science.

It was the second visit to Scilly for the artist. Gemma previously spent some time at Tresco Abbey Gardens and says she’s fascinated by the diversity of species that we have here.

She wasn’t here as a traditional scientific illustrator, but had a free hand to observe the scientists in action and to capture her own views of their work and the items they collected.

Most scientists now use photography to record their findings and Gemma says that means they don’t spend a lot of time really observing the specimens in the way she could do as an artist.

In particular, she was interested in capturing the relationships between the different plants, animals and the islands’ geology.

Gemma says she wasn’t looking at the scientific aspects, but the similarities in their shapes or symmetry.

The visiting scientists collected huge amounts of material and not all of it could be recorded or taken back to London.

Gemma says she was interested in exploring this and much of her work captures these rejected samples.

But she says her favourite drawing made during her time here was a merge of different cuttings provided by Abbey Gardens curator Mike Nelhams.

Gemma will exhibiting some of the work from Scilly in Helston next year and will be putting details on her website here.