The Nature Table: Nature under the microscope

Our latest exhibition The Nature Table gets close to nature and opens on Saturday 11 June in Gallery 2. In this exhibition, artist, Sheila Tilmouth shows how she is captivated and curious about the complexity of life forms and their fragile dependence on natural habitats.

Sheila uses photography and microscopes to discover and magnify the extraordinary lives that are hidden all around us and in the miniature worlds beneath our feet. Her work shows a wide range of fascinating detailed, close ups exploring all aspects of nature be it animal, vegetable or mineral.

Female dragonfly by Sheila Tilmouth

Recently Shelia has spent many hours exploring and studying the fantastic storehouse of natural history specimens, collected for well over 100 years, at Gallery Oldham while observing the borough’s current wildlife species.

She has been inspired by the anatomy of insects, feather patterns of the Great Northern Diver, fungal spore prints and our superb collection of Brendel flower models and lantern slides. These objects are beautiful and fascinating in their own right providing a rich historical resource of local flora and fauna reflecting the changes now found in our post-industrial landscape.

Sheila has made new works inspired by her visits and added these to her existing body of artwork.

The Nature Table brings together work from several earlier projects ranging from soil science on an organic farm, the incredible Fen Raft Spider, habitat ecology, wax cap fungi – the treasures of ancient grasslands, shorelines of the UK and traces of heritage crafts on remote Scottish islands.

From fungus to flies and bumblebees to birds her work interprets these hugely varied lifeforms using a wide mixture of artists’ materials including painting, drawing, printmaking and digital manipulation. 

Preparation for this exhibition has spanned the pandemic. Sheila worked collaboratively with the poet Carola Luther on a series that reflects some of the specific nature of our focus and experience during this time.

This summer Gallery Oldham is a real treat for nature lovers thanks to Sheila’s artwork and the 10 Years of the British Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition, which opened recently. There is loads more to see and do down at the gallery so why not pop in, especially if you are looking to do something with your children during the summer holidays.

Sheila will give talks about her work on Saturday 11 June at 2pm (see event details) as well as on Wednesday 17 July at 2pm. Her exhibition runs until 10 September.

The exhibition is also featuring as part of the Manchester Histories Festival, find out more at:

Work from this exhibition is for sale. Please email Sheila Tilmouth direct for a price list:

More examples of her work can be found at

Gallery Oldham