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What's new at the Museum

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There is a new selection of Chinese watercolours from the 19th-century John Reeves collection on show in the magnificent oak cabinets of the Images of Nature gallery.


Bird of paradise, 19th-century John Reeves collection. One of several zoological Illustrations on display from today in the Images of Nature gallery


The Images of Nature gallery opened earlier in January this year and features a temporary exhibition among the permanent Museum images. The temporary exhibits change annually and this year's theme is Chinese watercolours, namely from the collection of 19th-century amateur naturalist, John Reeves.


Slow loris and Sacred lotus, also new in the John Reeves collection cabinets in the Images of Nature gallery

The watercolours are too delicate for  permanent display so they change every 3 months, giving visitors the  chance to see about 100 paintings over the year. From today, 11 April, we have the second rotation of beautiful illustrations.


Glimpse a few of the new John Reeves zoological and botanical watercolours on display in our Images of Nature highlights slideshow and the new contemporary work (below right) by our Shanghai artist in residence, inspired by the 19-th century Chinese collection.


Left: Memorialise Memory installation. Right: Untitled. Artworks by our contemporary Shanghai artist in residence commemorate the Reeves collection

The new intriguing piece (above right) inspired by the 19th-century Chinese collection is Untitled. However, I think of it as 'Zebra shopping trolley'. The artist was inspired to create it by everyday objects found in a London supermarket. He stayed in London for 3 months researching the John Reeves collection and the Museum's scientific illustrations. Also catch the artist's video installation Memorialise Memory, commemmorating John Reeves and the original unnamed Chinese artisans who Reeves commissioned.


Enjoy the video below which describes his modern response to the 19th-century collection. You can also see it in the Images of Nature gallery.





From an introduction to the Reeves collection to dodo painting and wood-block printing, you can also browse our great collection of Images of Nature videos online.


Find out about John Reeves in China