I had a wonderful day at the Natural History Museum last Sunday with my bestie Lewis. The Colour and Vision Exhibition is really something to behold (and oooh so shiny! Perhaps not the best place to be with a hangover admittedly). It’s a fascinating and inspiring journey chronicling the history of colour and vision in the natural world.
As you would logically expect, the exhibition starts off at the very beginning, with the first signs of life on earth (in my hazy state it took me a while to cotton onto the fact that we were moving through time). It was fascinating to peer at odd primordial creatures pickled in jars and ancient fossil impressions, and piece together how the human eye had evolved from these simple forms.
I stood and pondered on this thought-provoking quote from Darwin for a while:
“To suppose that the eye … could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I confess, absurd in the highest degree…”
You can probably imagine this part of the exhibition was somewhat lacking in colour and light, to reflect our dark and primitive beginnings. After all, the first ‘eyes’, if that’s what you can call them, were unable to perceive colour. To be honest though after the amazing light installation at the entrance (see below), I was quite eager to move onto the section with the pretty colours and lights.
We then moved into a room with at least 50 pickled eyes (my stomach was churning by now), and a very interesting interactive video display where you can compare your own vision to that of various animals. Dragonflies are incredible, dogs not so much.
There were also lots of dead stuffed things, in true Natural History Museum style. The iridescent plumage on some of the tropical birds is beautiful far beyond anything man-made.
All in all it was a very enjoyable day, and I will certainly be back for future exhibitions.
Colour and Vision Exhibition – Natural History Museum, South Kensington
15 July – 6 November 2016. Last entry 17.15