Starling by Anna Bowen

Starling by Anna Bowen


This engraved glass by Anna Bowen, celebrates the word ‘Starling’, and was created as part of our exhibition ‘The Lost Words - Forget-me-not.’ For this exhibition artists have created a permanent record of the natural words removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Size: 23 x 16cm


A gregarious old world songbird with a straight bill, typically with dark lustrous or iridescent plumage but sometimes brightly coloured.

Family Sturnidae: many genera and numerous species, in particular the speckled common (or European) starling (Sturnus vulgaris), widely introduced elsewhere. The starling family also includes the mynahs, grackles, and (usually) the oxpeckers. 

ORIGIN: Old English stærlinc, from stær ‘starling’ (of Germanic origin) + -ling.

I’m attempting to render a small amount of awe and magic felt about nature when growing up in rural Dorset. We were outdoors almost every spare moment, as youngsters playing ‘man-hunt’, tearing through woodland, knowing every path and foot-hole. As teenagers; sleeping out in fields to wait for shooting stars but also catching the great ‘murmurations’ of starlings gathering at dusk. (No tents; we wore army surplus coats and boots.)

Heart-stopping moments of life and death, finding newly hatched rooks or a dried out blackened frog. Together, these words create a patchwork of my childhood; remove them and you risk taking away the curiosity and awe. We might not have gone looking for nature but it found us and, in time, we found the names to pair them with.

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