In collaboration with the Natural History Museum at Tring, Walter Rothschild’s spectacular collection of natural history provides the inspiration for colourful virtual collages by Platon H and couture dresses by Mary Katrantzou.
Walter Rothschild, 2nd Lord Rothschild, nephew of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (who built Waddesdon), dedicated his life to the natural sciences. His private collection of specimens formed the foundation of his museum at Tring which opened to the public in 1892. An eccentric character, Walter was fascinated by birds, butterflies and giant tortoises, and famously trained zebras to draw his carriage. His reputation and knowledge in the scientific community was so great that many newly discovered creatures and plants, from fleas to giraffes, were subsequently named after him and coined ‘Rothschildi’. It is these species that provide the inspiration for the two contemporary artists in this new exhibition at Waddesdon.
Focussing on 14 Rothschild species and inspired by the history of Walter Rothschild’s collecting, Greek artist Platon H has designed mesmerising digital collages that respond to the beautiful, abstract patterns in the wings, feathers and carapaces of birds and insects. Inspired by Walter’s collection, celebrated fashion designer Mary Katrantzou uses her unique aesthetic of crafting ‘surrealism out of realism and possibility out of impossibility’ to transform nature into three spectacular couture dresses for the exhibition.
On loan from the Natural History Museum at Tring the Rothschild specimens will be displayed alongside the two artists’ contemporary interpretations. Appealing to families and fans of contemporary art and fashion, this exhibition celebrates nature’s vibrant beauty and kaleidoscopic colour while highlighting the extraordinary passion and scientific knowledge of Walter Rothschild.