Portrait of a Polymath – D'Arcy Thompson's Daybook by Will Maclean

The University of Dundee is creating a collection of work inspired by the zoologist and polymath D’Arcy Thompson through the Art Fund Renew scheme.


Mixed media box construction
60 x 124 x 4 cm
Art Fund grant:
£18,000 ( Total: £18,000)
Acquired in:
Will Maclean

Will Maclean is one of the best known and most acclaimed artists in Scotland over the past 40 years, and as Professor of Fine Art has played an important role in Dundee’s artistic community. Much of his work concerns the symbolic meanings of artefacts from the past, and so museum collections have always held a fascination for him. D’Arcy Thompson’s desire to collect, catalogue and explain the natural world formed the basis of a series of mixed media box constructions made by the artist in 2007–8. The present work, taken from that series, is a fascinating piece which features several three-dimensional and graphical elements that represent different aspects of D’Arcy’s work and interests (including morphology, marine biology, geometry and classics). It is a work that rewards close viewing and will eventually be displayed in the University’s Zoology Museum alongside the specimens that helped to inspire it. This acquisition was presented by the Art Fund and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.


The artist.

Venue details

University of Dundee Museum Collections Tower Foyer & Lamb Galleries, Tower Building, University of Dundee, DUNDEE Tayside DD1 4HN 01382 384310 www.dundee.ac.uk/museum

Entry details

Free to all

Tower Foyer & Lamb Galleries Mon-Fri, 9.30am – 7pm Sat, 1 – 5pm D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum Jun – Aug (or throughout the year by appointment) Fri, 2 – 4.30pm Artists’ Book Collection Dundee By appointment Mon – Fri, 10am – 6pm