Sea Life: Glimpses of the Wonderful

Catch a glimpse of the magic and mystery of the world under the sea.

Through a playful mix of historic objects, film, illustrations, live creatures and contemporary craft, the exhibition combines science and art to inspire a greater appreciation of Devon’s glorious coastline for visitors of all ages.

Glimpses of the Wonderful embraces the study of the seashore from the early Victorian period, a fascination popularised by pioneer marine biologist Philip Henry Gosse who investigated and created illustrations of Devon’s coastal life.

The exhibition explores how scientists and artists have observed aquatic organisms and shared their knowledge. It features exquisite Victorian scientific models made in wax by the Ziegler Studio and glass by the Blaschkas as well as lecture illustrations made from paper collages and even real animals. The invention of the aquarium by Gosse and others played an important role in bringing the seashore to the public.

Investigate British rockpool creatures up close in RAMM’s aquarium, learn about how to take care of Devon’s fragile coast and be inspired to explore the shore for yourself.

Be the first to see a new work by internationally-renowned glass artist Steffen Dam. His ‘marine life jars’ are a beautiful illusion of reality containing imaginary blown-glass creatures. Dam took inspiration from RAMM’s Percy Sladen collection of starfish and sea urchins to create new forms from his own biological universe. This commission has been supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Art Fund and the Friends of RAMM.

This exhibition is inspired by RAMM’s collection of rare drawings by PH Gosse. It also draws on the collections of National Museums Wales, Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery, V&A, Tameside Museums and Galleries and others.

Accompanying events

Saturday 20 May, Family workshops and evening performance by PaddleBoat Theatre, 10am to 8pm, £7.50, £6, £5
Thursday 25 May, Talk: What Did Gosse Ever Do For Us? 7 to 8pm, £10 (£8)
Saturday 27 May and Saturday 17 June, Drop-in Under-5s activities: Life on the Ocean Floor, 10.30am to 12 noon, free
Wednesday 31 May, Drop-in family activities: The Wonderful World of Seaweed, 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30 to 3.30pm, £2.50
Thursday 1 June, Drop-in family activities: The Good, the Bad and the Slimy, 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30 to 3.30pm, £2.50
Friday 2 June, Drop-in family activities: Curious Coastal Creatures, 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30 to 3.30pm, £2.50
Saturday 10 June, Drypoint Print Workshop with Double Elephant, 10am to 4pm, £45
Tuesday 13 June, Talk: PH Gosse and pleasure hunts in Victorian Devon, 1.10 to 2.15pm, £6
Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 June, Seaside family activity: Rockpool Safari, 11.30am, £3, drop in at Wembury Marine Centre, PL9 0HP