Trees A Crowd


Polly Morgan: Form and colour rather than life and death

Season 1, Ep. 2

Polly Morgan is a modern artist known for her sculptural taxidermy. Growing up in pastoral Oxfordshire, she’s been surrounded by animals from an early age. After moving to London to read English literature at university, she took a one-day course in avian taxidermy in a bid to decorate her new home. Polly’s interest accelerated from hobby to career when one of her pieces - “Rest a Little on the Lap of Life”, a white rat curled up inside a champagne glass - was sold to Vanessa Branson. Since then, her work has featured in an abundance of galleries including Banksy’s Santa Ghetto exhibition. In this in-depth interview, Polly talks us through her artistic techniques from observing and washing animal skins to forming casts, describes the feeling of creative loneliness that inspired her latest collaborative exhibition, and explains how her work is reinventing traditional victorian taxidermy - by creating abstract art that focuses on “form and colour rather than life and death.” N.B. We apologise for the reduced sound quality of this episode due to circumstances outside our control.

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Dr Helen Pheby: Sculpture for sheep, and rhubarb trains; the place ‘Extraordinary’ can happen

Season 2, Ep. 7
Dr Helen Pheby is the head of curatorial programmes at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Set in 500 acres of historic parkland, the park has provided a “gallery without walls” for artists such as Elisabeth Frink, Auguste Rodin, Giuseppe Penone, and local legends such as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Helen has collaborated on projects in Iraqi Kurdistan, South Africa, India, and even Barnsley! Born in the so-called ‘rhubarb triangle’, Helen reminisces over “the rhubarb express”, a train which ran from her village in Yorkshire to London, and muses over how magical it was being able to see the contrast between rural and urban environments. In this insightful conversation, Helen explains how she believes creativity and art is a human right, how the YSP was visited by Henry VIII, and how another Henry, Henry Moore, believed it was the job of artists to show people the natural world and subsequently designed artwork for sheep. She explains how the Sculpture Park aims to be inclusive, free from the barriers of social standing, wealth and a gender imbalance that art is often associated with. Subsequently, the YSP is now home to brain-controlled helicopters, women on horseback steeplechasing through the landscapes of the First World War, and all of this second to the migratory routes of the Great Crested Newt. In her own words: “We are places the extraordinary can happen.” For more information on this podcast, including David's thoughts following this interview, head to: