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Exhibition: Biophilia

9th April- 23rd June 2024

The installation of work by local artist Jacqueline Amies has taken inspiration from the writings of Gilbert White (1720- 1793). Over the past year regular visits to The Wakes in Selborne have been made and time has been spent in the gardens ‘watching narrowly’, observing both the seasonal changes of the surroundings, along with studying the interactions of insects and wildlife that exist within the gardens mixed habitats and the meadow.
Alongside the garden visits, Amies has walked many of the areas in and around Selborne that were familiar to White and mentioned in his book ‘The Natural History of Selborne’. Whilst walking and taking the time to slow down and observe discoveries have been made of wild orchids at Noar Hill, rare birds on Shortheath Common and insects in Selborne.
The unique encounters have enabled Amies to become completely immersed in nature and to gain a greater understanding of the natural world. Writings by White have encouraged Amies to make
trips further afield to learn more about and observe endangered species like Swifts and the Swallowtail butterfly only found now in Norfolk.

‘Biophilia’ has a display of small delicately placed natural forms arranged in technology boxes creating a cabinet of curiosities which invites the viewer to look closer at nature in a re-imagined way.
The exhibition further explores historical communication media with a colourful display of postcards, there are drawings depicting plants and wildlife from the artists observations.
The act of momentarily escaping and stepping away from technology to immerse yourself and discover our natural environments hopefully creates a childlike curiosity which instigates nature inspired understanding, appreciation and conversation.

    Gilbert Whites House

    Gilbert White was aged 7 or 8 when the White family moved from the Vicarage on Selborne’s Plestor, to this house, called ‘The Wakes’ (named after the Wake family who had lived here previously). At that time the property would have been no more than a ‘two up, two down’  but over the subsequent years lots of extensions and additions have been made, creating the long sizeable house you see today.

    The rooms have been restored following descriptions in White’s own correspondence and include a chair he used at Oriel College, Oxford (loaned from the College), items of contemporary furniture, family portraits and bed hangings embroidered for him by his aunts.

    On display is the original manuscript of his book, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, which was purchased with generous help from English Heritage and others.

    Learn more