D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum Art Collection

Banner image showing thumbnails of works from the D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum Art Collection

In December 2011 the University of Dundee Museum Collections was awarded a grant from the Art Fund of £100,000 to build a collection of art inspired by D'Arcy Thompson, the University's first Professor of Biology.

D'Arcy was a brilliant polymath whose work laid the foundations for the science of biomathematics but who also had an extraordinary influence on art and design that continues to this day. Many famous artists such as Henry Moore, Richard Hamilton and Jackson Pollock drew on his work while others have used his surviving collection in the D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum as a further source of inspiration. This grant has allowed us to acquire some 20th century artworks as well as working with contemporary artists to create new pieces for our collection.

Several exhibitions have been held based on the collection, including in Dundee at the Lamb Gallery, LifeSpace and Dundee Science Centre, as well as the Gateway Galleries, University of St Andrews and Edinburgh City Art Centre. 

A limited-edition publication has been produced with information on all of the work acquired, designed by semper fidelis. It is now nearly sold out but please contact us to enquiry if there are copies still available.

Click on an artist's name to see the work acquired through the Art Fund RENEW grant:

Gemma Anderson
Wilhelmina Barns-Graham
Daniel Brown
B E Cole
Susan Derges
Alex Flett
Bruce Gernand
Richard Hamilton
Andy Lomas
Will Maclean
Henry Moore
Victor Pasmore
Jennie Pedley
Peter Randall-Page
Lindsay Sekulowicz
Marion Smith
William Turnbull
Roger Wilson
Mark Wright

As well as these, we have also acquired work by many other artists including Salvador Dali, Steffen Dam, Macoto Murayama, Sally Osborn, Lara Scouller and Todd Siler, as well as commissioning the D'Arcy Thompson Print Folio.

The grant was awarded through the Art Fund's RENEW programme, which gave a total of £600,000 to six UK museums in 2011 to establish new collections of art, collections which connect, in exciting and creative ways, with their existing holdings and current audiences. The University of Dundee Museum Collections is the final museum to be accepted into the scheme, which has been made possible through support from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation as part of its 50th birthday celebrations.

The Art Fund is the national charity for art, helping UK museums and galleries to buy, show and share art. Over the past 5 years, the Art Fund has given £24 million to buy art and supported a range of projects and programmes aimed at helping more people enjoy art. It is independently funded by nearly 90,000 supporters who purchase a National Art Pass, costing from just £37.50, which gives free entry to over 200 museums, galleries and historic houses across the country as well as 50% off major exhibitions. Find out more about the Art Fund and how to buy a National Art Pass at www.artfund.org.

RENEW, funded from a £600,000 award from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation as part of its 50th birthday celebrations, aims to build future centres of excellence by supporting fresh areas of collecting of fine, decorative or applied art in museums and galleries. It provides 100% funding for six museums to establish exciting and creative new directions in their collecting strategies. 

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