The seabed laid bare in Wild Seas exhibition at Durlston Castle

In an attempt to reveal the mystery of what lies under the sea along our Jurassic coastline, a new exhibition has opened at the Fine Foundation Gallery at Durlston Castle in Swanage.

The Wild Seas exhibition organised by Dorset Wildlife Trust features the specially commissioned original sketches and paintings that are used to create an informative booklet about our sea bed and Dorset’s Marine Protected Areas.

Exhibits on display

“As if you were standing on the floor of Durlston Bay”

The artwork of underwater landscapes are by Dorset artist, Antonia Phillips who said she found it an enjoyable challenge:

“In order to imagine what the sea bed looks like, I had to, in my mind, remove the water and see it as a landscape. I tried to think what it would be like to be under the water, as if you were standing on the floor of Durlston Bay.

“A while ago, I did sketch underwater by diving down and hovering just about the seafloor. I used perspex sheets, a chinagraph pencil and oil pastels. It’s quite nice, drawing and swaying with the seaweed!

“I was then able to use that experience, along with underwater photographs and the ‘Doris’ survey of the seabed that shows all the exact geology of the sea floor.”

Julie Hatcher from Dorset Wildlife Trust

Julie Hatcher from Dorset Wildlife Trust putting the final touches to the exhibition

“Many people think of the sea as a barren plain”

Julie Hatcher from Dorset Wildlife Trust explained that the main idea behind the exhibition was to make people think more about what lies under the sea. She said:

“People are very familiar with woodland and heathland areas and when they see them from a plane, they know what they are looking at, but many people think of the sea as a barren plain. We want people to become familiar with the seabed and what is there.

“There’s seahorses, seals, dolphins and I’ve seen a lot of nudibranchs this year – a type of pretty sea slug. They’re very brightly coloured like little jewels in the sea and most people wouldn’t know that they are there.”

“There’s also ancient riverbeds and sandbanks. Just off the coast of Swanage there is an area of the seabed called the Whitehouse Grounds, which is a series of steps that descend into the depths with crabs and lobsters hiding in the crevices.”

The exhibition is open daily from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm from Saturday 24th
October to Sunday 29th November 2020 in the Fine Foundation Gallery at Durlston Castle in Swanage.

Further information

More can be discovered on Dorset’s Marine Protected Areas website

Paintings on the wall
Sketches of the seabed

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