To accompany our recent exhibition of extraordinary assemblages by Richard James we’ve put together a slideshow of his work, complete with close-up details and Richard’s notes on each piece.

The exhibition space set up in the main gallery is brilliantly atmospheric, and we had countless customers describe how amazed they were at the extreme levels of detail in Richard’s work. In case you missed the show, you can enjoy some of the assemblages in greater detail and with Richard’s descriptions by watching this short film.

Richard-James-Assemblage-Notes-And-Details-The-Flood-Full‘The Flood’ – assemblage by Richard James

Richard James creates mysterious assemblage cabinets and boxes composed with found objects ranging from animal bones and bird skulls to seashells, old book pages, and the salt-dried husks of dead crustaceans.



Richard-James-Assemblage-Notes-And-Details-Bone-Atlas-31-Close-Up(above) detail from ‘The Flood’; (middle) ‘Bone Atlas: Chart 53’ (left) and ‘Bone Atlas: Chart 31’ (right); (below) detail from ‘Bone Atlas: Chart 31’

Alongside each assemblage Richard keeps notes of every constituent part of his compositions and pens arcane descriptions of their hidden meaning. Much of his work makes strong use of astronomical associations through star maps and solar system layouts: an attempt to bring out the greater mystery inherent in the commonplace fragments of life strewn across fields and shores.



Richard-James-Assemblage-Notes-And-Details-Astronomy-Of-The-Seashore-Close-Up(above) ‘Astronomy of the Seashore’, with details

Many of these assembled boxes also forge connections to particular, special places in Richard’s life: favourite landscapes include the West coast of Scotland and its many isles, and the Southern shores of England where he has long sourced material for his work.



(above and below) ‘These Two Important Mysteries’, with details

In addition to producing short films on each assemblage in the exhibition, we commissioned acclaimed writer Robert Macfarlane (Mountains of the Mind, The Wild Places, The Old Ways, Landmarks) to produce a short essay for our illustrated exhibition catalogue. With beautiful photography offering a closer glimpse into the breath-taking handiwork that goes into Richard’s boxes, we think the catalogue is one of the very best we have made.


To read Robert Macfarlane’s words, you can click here to find the catalogue essay specially published here on Discover.

View Richard James’ extraordinary assemblages here >