Open your eyes- and see things differently!

Tony Page marvels at the stunning Colour and Vision exhibition at the Natural History Museum

Strawberry top shell under UV light © Trustees of NHM, London

I have always taken my eyesight for granted yet when asked it is always the one sense that I am frightened to lose. Having said this I only do the annual eye tests and wear my glasses like a good boy!

To say I had my eyes opened would be an understatement when I went along to see the ‘Colour and Vision’ Exhibition at the Natural History Museum.

Sponsored by LG OLED Television the South Korean electronics group the displays are eye poppingly interesting.

The exhibition tracks the evolution of the eye from the beginnings of life on earth and explains and illustrates how nature’s creatures have evolved sight capabilities over time, why they needed to and what they actually see compared to us humans. 


One snippet that astounded me was that molluscs have eyes – who has ever seen an oyster wearing glasses! But eyes they do have! The most impressive of all is the Giant Clam which boasts thousands of eyes along the membrane lip on the edge of its shell!

One display enables us to experience how different species see and what they see!  I now know why my dog can’t find his red ring in the grass – he’s colour blind.

Liz West installation

An installation titled Our Spectral Vision, designed by light artist Liz West, will replicate what light does when it passes through a prism, using 2.5-metre-high tube lights. Seven colours will split and blur, surrounding the visitor.

Another display features hundreds of real eyes with cutaways plus a wall of eyes numbering thousands of images. You can add your own by having a picture taken on a fixed camera at the entrance. 

LG OLED display

Towards the end of the galleries is an exhibit made of giant TVs (LG of course!) creating a giant multi-media screen displaying an eye catching show of colour, images of nature and colour perceptions and incongruities!

A great visit for the grandchildren and pretty good for the grandparents!

Colour and Vision

Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London runs until Sunday 6 November 2016

More information about the exhibition sponsor: LG OLED televisions

Images: ©The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Last modified: June 10, 2021

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