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Temporary Exhibition 2009: Sheep - From Lamb to Loom

Sheep: From Lamb to loom

This exhibition is the result of three years' field work by artist Kate Lynch and sound designer Alastair Goolden who have travelled through the seasons with a group of sheep farmers high on the Mendip Hills and Exmoor and down on the Somerset flood plains and salt marshes. Their journey then continued off the farms in Somerset and Devon as they followed the sheep to the livestock markets, and the wool into workshops, studios and sitting-rooms. Many of the people featured can trace their relationships with sheep back through generations and the farming traditions, trades, skills and crafts celebrated still bear a close resemblance to the work of their ancestors.

"This exhibition is a chronicle of our visits to just a few of many farmers and artisans in the country whose livelihoods depend on sheep and is a celebration of their, and our, age-old relationship with sheep". Kate Lynch.

There is a full-colour hard-back book by Kate Lynch which accompanies the exhibition, containing journal entries and extracts from interviews with the people.

"Sheep were always there.... In words and pictures this exhibition brings an ancient story up to date, travelling through the seasons with sheep farmers, evoking their lives and work, and tracing the story of the sheep and their wool 'from lamb to loom'". Tom Mayberry, Somerset County Heritage Officer

Paul Ashton auctions fat lambs at Highbridge Market (JPG, 57Kb)
Paul Ashton auctions fat lambs at Highbridge Market
© Kate Lynch


Ron Fouracres rounds up sheep with his dog (Willow charcoal drawing) (JPG, 59Kb)
Ron Fouracres rounds up sheep with his dog (Willow charcoal drawing)
© Kate Lynch

Books, postcards, and prints are for sale at the Museum.

There is also a feltwork display by Vicki Mulligan (015242 61167 on the first floor in the Parkinson Room. Vicki is a textile designer and artist from Bentham. A local spinner has also provided a display of fleece and yarn on the top floor of the Museum.

For a review of the exhibition by the British Wool Marketing Board (, please see their press release

The "Sheep - from Lamb to Loom" exhibition visits:

The project has been supported by:

and galleries hosting the exhibition

Book: "Sheep: From Lamb to Loom"

The paintings and drawings depict the seasonal life of shepherds in the West Country - raddling the rams in autumn, lambing in spring, summer shearing and the livestock market. The journey continues with visits to cheesemakers, the wool grading depot, sheepskin tannery and the workshops of spinners, weavers and knitters. The descriptive text includes conversations with thirty farmers and craftspeople.

Reviews of the exhibition appear in the following magazines:

Temporary Exhibitions for other years may be found by clicking on the relevant links below:


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