The Lost Words

Dandelion by Jackie Morris

The Lost Words is a unique collaborative project between renowned writer Robert Macfarlane (author of The Old Ways and Landmarks) and artist Jackie Morris (The White Fox, Tell Me a Dragon).

Taking the form of a collection of illustrated spells, The Lost Words celebrates the relationship between language and the living world, and nature’s power to spark the imagination.


The gallery at Nymans will host an exhibition of original artwork from the book. A dedicated programme of events and activities will encourage children and adults alike to become nature conjurers; summoning elements of the natural world back into our vocabularies and our hearts.

Heron by Jackie Morris
Heron by Jackie Morris
Heron by Jackie Morris


The Lost Words has influenced our events and activities throughout the spring and into the summer.  Meet artist Jackie Morris painting in the gallery on Sat 19 & Sun 20 January between 11am - 3pm where she'll be happy to chat about her work.

" The Lost Words exhibition could hardly have a more natural or perfect habitat than Nymans. The beautiful gardens and landscape there hold many of the plants and creatures named in the book. Jackie Morris and I could not be happier that her paintings - darting kingfishers, and my poem-spells will find their home in West Sussex for half a year, from midwinter through spring to early summer. We hope many people, especially children, will find The Lost Words at Nymans."
- Robert Mcfarlane

You can join a Head Gardener's walk, take a tour with a gardener, walk in the woods with a ranger or visit the garden to listen to early morning birdsong with our special early openings in April. During the school holidays we'll be making bird feeders and creating clay creatures inspired by woodland wildlife. At Easter time seek out the golden letters hidden in the garden to reveal Nymans nature spells then claim your Cadbury chocolate prize.

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

Exhibition opens Saturday 19 January until Sunday 2 June 2019.