How the Artist Was Led to the Study of Nature

How the Artist Was Led to the Study of Nature is part of The Artangel Collection. It was initially presented at the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne in spring of 2018, before being exhibited at the Leeds art Gallery in Leeds.

  • Artist: Andy Holden
  • Title: How the Artist Was Led to the Study of Nature
  • Date: 2017
  • Medium: hand painted porcelain eggs, polystyrene boxes, food tins and containers, suitcase and cotton wool
  • Dimensions: Overall dimensions variable

‘How the Artist Was Led to the Study of Nature’ is both majestic and sad in how it recapitulates the journeys its eggs have gone on: from live to dead; from nest to biscuit tin; from high in trees to hidden in a cellar; but, also, from one kind of home to another. — Tim Smith-Laing, Apollo Magazine, 2 November 2017


The sculptural installation 'How the Artist was Led to the Study of Nature' depicts the illegal collection of wild birds eggs confiscated from prominent 'egger' Richard Pearson in 2006, following a raid by RSPB officers. Holden encountered an image of the 7130 eggs that comprised the haul in the newspaper, during Pearson's trial. The photograph included eggs belonging to some of the UK's rarest nesting species such as golden eagle, avocet, black-tailed godwit, osprey, peregrine falcon and red-backed shrike. Working with ceramicist Peter Rowland, Holden recreated a life sized version of the confiscated collection; displayed in branded biscuit tins, fish boxes and tobacco cases akin to those used by Pearson. Through this recration Holden seeks to understand what drives the human instinct to collect, and how this inclination becomes obsession.

Image: Andy Holden, How the Artist was Led to the Study of Nature, 2017, (detail) at Towner Art Gallery, 2018. Photograph: Pete Jones