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New exhibition in Norwich focuses on birds and their impact on mankind

PUBLISHED: 07:52 24 May 2014

The Wonder of Birds exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum. Photo: Steve Adams

The Wonder of Birds exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum. Photo: Steve Adams

Visitors to Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery’s new exhibition, The Wonder of Birds, which starts today, will be able to see a painting by Hans Holbein that is back in Norfolk for the first time since its acquisition by the National Gallery in 1992.

Holbein’s “A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling” is believed to depict Lady Anne Lovell from East Harling in Norfolk.

The exhibition includes 220 works, including the only egg known to have survived from Charles Darwin’s HMS Beagle voyage during the 1830s, and a carved stone duck from Babylon, dating from 2,000BC.

Highlights also include works by conservationist Sir Peter Scott, whose daughter Dafila Scott, who lives near Cambridge, was invited to the launch last night.

She said: “It’s absolutely lovely to see my father’s paintings in the exhibition.”

As well as some impressive taxidermy, the exhibition explores the cultural impact of birds upon mankind through art, historical objects and even fashion, using the castle’s own large collection as well as items loaned from local and national museums.

The exhibition comprises six sections, each highlighting a different aspect of birds, their meanings and our relationships with them.

Every section integrates art with taxidermy so the visitor is surrounded by birds wherever they look.

Visitors will be greeted by the show’s largest and smallest birds displayed side by side – an imposing young male condor with a wingspan of two-and-a-half metres and a tiny, delicate hummingbird.

Some of the items have not been on display for more than 50 years.

The Wonder of Birds runs at the Castle Museum until September 14.

See more about the exhibition in today’s EDP magazine.

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