Sarah Gillespie | Moth

13 October - 8 November 2020

Misunderstood and overlooked, moths are unloved by most humans. They are unseen in the dark and dismissed as ‘dull’ in favour of their flashier, diurnal cousins: the butterflies. In reality, moths are more numerous and varied than we perceive them to be, and they contribute much to the ecosystem’s biodiversity. Sarah Gillespie’s gorgeous mezzotint works draw attention to the catastrophic depopulation of dozens of species of moths across Britain. Since 1914, over sixty varieties of the insect have become extinct in this country due to factors including loss of habitat, the use of pesticides, and light pollution. This could have serious knock-on effects, as these insects are remarkably important for the survival of many other animal species and for the pollination of plants and flowers. Sarah’s work celebrates moths’ inconspicuous nocturnal lives, their exquisite diversity, and the poetry of their common English names. These prints are the culmination of an eighteen-month project of focus and attention on these vital but underappreciated creatures.


Sarah uses a mix of references for these mezzotints, both photographic and drawn, taken from her own moth trappings and from the museum collection in Exeter, near her home in Devon.