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The Lost Words

Lark by Jackie Morris, 2016 Credit Jackie MorrisLark by Jackie Morris, 2016 Credit Jackie Morris

The Lost Words: Told in Gold (Friday 24 July to Monday 27 July 2020)

The Lost Words: Told in Gold theatre experienceOur gallery was delighted to host the award-winning The Lost Words exhibition in 2019. In 2020 we will host the sensational immersive theatre experience adapted from this multi-award winning natural world book by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

The grounds of The Moors National Park Centre will be home to this theatre performance. Featuring glorious music from the album 'Spellsongs', and a huge goldfinch-nest theatre, ‘The Lost Words: Told in Gold’ presents stunning projections and installations. Audiences will join the cast and fly with the goldfinches, setting the world alight with gold and glitter.

There will be three performance per day, tickets will cost  £12.50 for adults and £7.50 for children. Booking is essential and will be available to purchase early in 2020.

The Lost Words exhibition (summer 2019)

Bluebell Credit Jackie MorrisWe played host to The Lost Words exhibition over the summer in 2019, on tour from Compton Verney. This unique collaboration between award-winning author Robert Macfarlane and acclaimed artist Jackie Morris has been widely praised for helping reconnect adults and children with the natural world using the power of words and art. It particularly resonates with our own purpose of capturing the beauty and importance of our protected landscapes through art.

Nature seems increasingly to be retreating from our children's stories and imaginations.

In response to this widening gulf between language and the natural world, The Lost Words seeks to conjure that vanishing wildness back into existence through images and writing.

Suitable for all ages, the exhibition displayed 20 acrostic spell-poems written by Robert Macfarlane, each based on a lost word such as bluebell, bramble, conker, otter and wren; words that he believes are fading from everyday language as the species themselves decline.

Alongside the poems, 50 beautiful watercolours were displayed, originally used to create The Lost Words book by artist Jackie Morris. These illustrations use gold leaf as an expression of Jackie’s desire to help viewers go on a journey where the familiar suddenly appears magical once more.

Compton Verney logoRead the latest in Jackie Morris' blog.

The Lost Words exhibition is curated by Compton Verney, with Hamish Hamilton and Penguin Books.

The Lost Words poetry competition results

During the exhibition, we held a series of events linked to The Lost Words, including workshops, talks, activities for all the family and a poetry competition.

Entrants were invited to create their own poem inspired by the sights, smells and sounds of the natural world, its landscapes and wildlife of which ten selected poems were judged by author Robert Macfarlane. All entrants received a letter from Robert.

Winner- Megan Pattie

The ten selected poems also received a gold-stamped and signed copy of The Lost Words, while the first and second prize winners received a gold-stamped copy plus a hand-written poem from The Lost Words.

Adult poetry competition winners

Winner – Megan Pattie ‘Oriole’
Runner up – Jan Britain ‘Swift’

Children poetry competition winners

Winner – Mabel Bailey ‘Rowan’
Second – Isla Banks ‘Feather’
Third – Oliver Arnold ‘Stoat’


Heron Credit Jackie Morris

Find out more about The Lost Words

You can find a number of free resources supported and hosted by John Muir Trust including:

  • An Explorer's Guide to The Lost Words, free to download
  • Free poster downloads, including bramble and kingfisher
  • Insightful articles about the book
  • A Literacy & Nature Guide (from the John Muir Trust), with inspiration and actions to discover the links between literacy and nature.
  • Literacy & Nature for Educators: Session Guidance (for running your own training sessions using The Lost Words resources)

Read The Lost Words, one year on blog post from Rob Bushby, giving an overview of the first year in the book’s life.

Read about the successful crowdfunder appeal coordinated by Amy-Jane Beer and Paddy Hall to put a copy of The Lost Words into every primary school in North Yorkshire.

Images (from top to bottom): Lark by Jackie Morris (c) Jackie Morris; Bluebell by Jackie Morris (c) Jackie Morris; Heron by Jackie Morris (c) Jackie Morris; Dandelion by Jackie Morris (c) Jackie Morris

Dandelion Credit Jackie Morris