The Lost Words

The Lost Words

by Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris

In a bid to bring nature back into children’s stories, author Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris have created a beautifully illustrated book of spells to renew and engage children in the love of the wild

From 19th January, Nymans will host an exciting new programme of activities based around the book The Lost Words, which is a unique collaborative project between renowned writer Robert Macfarlane (author of The Old Ways and Landmarks) and artist Jackie Morris (The White Fox, Tell Me a Dragon). Taking the form of a collection of illustrated spell poems, the book combines their considerable creative talents to celebrate the relationship between language and the living world, and nature’s power to spark the imagination. The Lost Words is also a response to Macfarlane and Morris’s belief that nature is in retreat from our children’s stories and imaginations.

A survey of British primary school children found 8-11 year-olds were “substantially better” able to identify types of Pokémon characters than species of common UK wildlife.

Robert Macfarlane has created a series of 20 spell-poems, one for each lost word. While Jackie Morris, inspired by her lifelong passion for Britain’s landscapes and wildlife, has painted more than 50 beautiful watercolours – using gold leaf to take the viewer on a journey that makes the familiar appear magical once more. Jackie comments, “I want The Lost Words to delight the mind and the eye and send children to sleep dreaming of wild things.” Robert Macfarlane says, “Jackie and I have worked for two years to make a ‘spell-book’ that might – by the old magic of poem, spell and icon – re-wild the language we use and the stories we tell about the everyday nature that surrounds us and of which we are part.”

The gallery at Nymans will be hosting an exhibition of original artwork from the book and on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th January Jackie Morris will be in the gallery to share the stories behind the pictures in The Lost Words. She’ll be there between 11am–3pm, ready to take questions while watching her paint.

A dedicated programme of events and activities is planned which will encourage children and adults to renew their love of nature, inspired by The Lost Words. During this time, you’ll be able to take a self-led poetry walk around the garden, pick up a nature explorer activity, or enjoy a seasonal pop-up seasonal tour. Both the Head Gardener and ranger team will be giving special guided tours each month exploring the wonders of the natural world in the garden and surrounding woodland.

At February half term Nymans will be making bird feeders to encourage feathered friends into your garden by making a simple bird feeder. The event will run between Saturday 16 and Sunday 24 February, 11am–3pm.

The Lost Words touring exhibition events are listed on the Nymans website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nymans