The Lost Words
19 October 2019 to 12 January 2020
The Lost Words is a unique collaborative project between writer Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris. Taking the form of both an exhibition and a book published by Hamish Hamilton, The Lost Words celebrates the relationship between language and the living world, and of nature’s power to spark the imagination.
Nature seems increasingly to be retreating from our children’s stories and imaginations. ‘Hashtag’ was declared the UK Children’s Word for 2015. A 2016 survey of primary school children in the UK found eight-year-olds more able to identify species of Pokémon than species of common UK wildlife. Technology is wondrous – but so is nature.
In response to this widening gulf between childhood and the natural world, The Lost Words seeks to conjure that vanishing wildness back into existence through images and writing.
Robert Macfarlane has created a series of spell-poems – one for each lost word – while Jackie Morris, inspired by her lifelong passion for Britain’s landscapes and wildlife, has painted beautiful watercolours and used gold leaf to take the viewer on a journey that makes the familiar magical once more. As Jackie says, “I want The Lost Words to delight the mind and the eye and send children to sleep dreaming of wild things.”
A touring exhibition organised by Compton Verney, with Hamish Hamilton and Penguin Books.