Polly Morgan

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Polly Morgan
Born1980 (age 38–39)
EducationGeorge Jamieson, Edinburgh
Known forTaxidermy
Notable work
Rabbit on Hat
For Sorrow
Still Life After Death (fox)
WebsitePolly Morgan Website

Polly Morgan (born 1980) is a London-based British artist who uses taxidermy to create works of art.[1][3][4][5]


Polly Morgan was born in Banbury, Oxfordshire, England in 1980,[6] and grew up in the Cotswolds on her family farm, and mentions a lack of squeamishness about death as well as being comfortable with the practice of dealing with the corpses of animals.[7] She moved to East London in 1998 and continues to live there today.[6] As a result of a ruptured appendix when she was 31, she became infertile and has spoken out to try to end the public stigma against talking about out in-vitro fertilization.[8] Morgan is a traditional libertarian.[7]


Morgan did not plan an art career; she considered becoming an actress after leaving school, but went to university instead.[2] Morgan graduated from Queen Mary, University of London, in English Literature in 2002.[5] During her studies, she worked in Shoreditch Electricity Showrooms, a bar popular with artists; after graduation, she continued to work there as manager.[3] At 23 Morgan was living above the bar and working out of her apartment, "tinkering with taxidermy."[7] Inspired to create work of her own she took a course with the professional taxidermist George Jamieson, of Cramond, in Edinburgh, during which her intuitive and personal response to the medium were obvious.[5] Morgan's first pieces were commissioned by Bistrotheque, after which she was spotted by Banksy: A lovebird looking in a mirror; a squirrel holding a belljar with a little fly perched inside on top of a sugar cube; a magpie with a jewel in its beak; and a couple of chicks standing on a miniature coffin'.[2][3] In 2005, he invited her to show her work for Santa's Ghetto, an annual exhibition he organised near London's Oxford Street.[5] Her next piece, a white rat curled up in a shallow champagne glass, was exhibited at Wolfe Lenkiewicz's Zoo Art Fair in 2005. That piece – 'Rest a Little on the Lap of Life'[citation needed] – was purchased before the show opened by Vanessa Branson.[3] Morgan works from a Bethnal Green studio.[1]

Morgan is a member of the UK Guild of Taxidermists.[5] The animals used in her taxidermy are contributed by a network of clients she has acquired over the years; the animals Morgan uses have died naturally or had unpreventable deaths.[7] Morgan maintains a detailed log of all dead animals in stock.[9]

Morgan believes that those who consider her work disrespectful or cruel to animals are "childish," and that anthropomorphizing the animals she uses is meaningless.[7] Her work emphasizes and displays animals in a way nontraditional to taxidermy, putting the animals in positions which do not generally imply that they are still alive, rather emphasizing the dying fall of the animal.[10]


  • Still Life After Death, 2006 at Kristy Stubbs Gallery
  • The Exquisite Corpse, 2007 at Trinity Church, 1 Marylebone Road
  • You Dig the Tunnel, I'll Hide the Soil, 2008 at White Cube
  • Mythologies, 2009 at Haunch of Venison
  • The Age of the Marvellous, 2009 at All Visual Arts[12]
  • Psychopomps, 2010 at Haunch of Venison
  • Contemporary Eye: Crossovers, 2010 at Pallant House Gallery
  • Passion Fruits, 2011 at ME Collectors Room
  • Burials, 2011 at Workshop Venice
  • Dead Time, 2011 at Voide, Derry
  • Endless Plains, 2012 at All Visual Arts[13]
  • 10,000 Hours, 2012 at Kunstmuseum Thurgau[14]
  • Foundation/Remains, 2013 at The Office Gallery, Nicosia, Cyprus
  • The Nature of the Beast, 2013 at The New Art Gallery, Walsall
  • Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland, 2013 at VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art
  • Curiouser and Curiouser, 2014 at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery
  • Fates Refrain, 2014 at Robilant + Voena Gallery
  • Organic Matters, 2015 at The National Museum of Women in Art[15]
  • Dead Animals and the Curious Occurrence of Taxidermy in Contemporary Art, 2016 at David Winton Bell Gallery - Brown University[16]
  • Animal Farm, Beastly Muses and Metaphors, 2016 at S|2 GALLERY[17]
  • Daydreaming With Stanley Kubrick, 2016 at Somerset House
  • 5 Years at Heddon Street, 2016 at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery
  • Faith and Fathom, 2016 at Galleria Poggiali
  • Naturalia, 2017 at Paul Kasmin Gallery

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Collinge, Miranda (18 July 2010). "Polly Morgan's wings of desire". The Observer. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Praagh, Anna van (9 July 2010). "The art of taxidermy". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Lane, Harriet (5 April 2008). "Polly Morgan: dead clever". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  4. ^ Ryan, Denise (23 October 2009). "An 'authentic encounter' with the animals". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e Philby, Charlotte (16 July 2010). "Death becomes her: Meet Polly Morgan, Britart's hottest property". The Independent. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Biography – Polly Morgan". pollymorgan.co.uk. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Polly Morgan: death becomes her". Evening Standard. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Let's smash the IVF wall of silence". Mail Online. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  9. ^ Morgan, Polly. "Introduction to Polly Morgan". Self published. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  10. ^ Connor, Steven. "Such Stuff as Dreams are Made on." Modern Painters 21, no. 2 (03, 2009): 58-63. http://stevenconnor.com/stuff/stuff.pdf.
  11. ^ "Exhibitions – Polly Morgan". pollymorgan.co.uk. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  12. ^ "All Visual Arts - The Age of the Marvellous - Selected Works". www.allvisualarts.org.
  13. ^ "All Visual Arts - Endless Plains - Selected Works". www.allvisualarts.org.
  14. ^ http://www.kunstmuseum.tg.ch/xml_38/internet/de/intro.cfm/
  15. ^ "Organic Matters - National Museum of Women in the Arts". nmwa.org.
  16. ^ "Dead Animals, or the curious occurrence of taxidermy in contemporary art". www.brown.edu.
  17. ^ http://www.sothebys.com/en/gallery/s2.html

External links[edit]