Supper Room, Town Hall, Kirkwall: Thurs 5-Tues 10, 0900-1600, closed Sun 8 Sept

An audiovisual installation celebrating the celestial discoveries of the 18th-century astronomer Caroline Herschel, presented as photographic glass plates of stars that she noticed were missing from the British Star Catalogue, and accompanied by a sound composition interweaving words and music. The composition, 8 Comets by Annie Needham and Phil Tomsett, is structured according to the precise charted orbits of the eight comets that Caroline Herschel discovered and is interspersed with words from her private journals and observational writings.

The sound piece will be playing alongside the installation, as well as being available as a QR code to scan and listen to through your headphones in the space, or later in your own time.

The audiovisual installation was created by the Orkney artist Lynda Laird while working as artist-in-residence for the Royal Astronomical Society through its bicentennial year of 2020. You can read more about it in detailed reviews in the New Scientist and the New Statesman.

Visit made possible through funding from the Royal Astronomical Society and the Science and Technology Facilities Council


  • A new introductory display created by Callum Potter, former president of the British Astronomical Society. Comets have fascinated humans since time immemorial, and often thought to be the portents of doom. Great Comets which are easily visible to the casual viewer are rare, but there are now thousands known to reside around our solar system. ..

  • More images inspired by the influence of Dr Kathleen Drew Baker on the Japanese seaweed industry. It will include over a dozen artists who work with seaweed in printmaking, photography, painting, textiles and sculpture. Among them are Alison Clark, Alison Moore, Ingrid Budge, Megumi Barrington Uenoyama, Yvonne Harcus, Julia Lohmann, Mollie Goldstrom & William Arnold, Rebecca Marr, Ami Robb and Ingrid Stout.

  • Three exhibitions are woven together in the gallery near the harbour front. Mother of the Sea was inspired by the work of Dr Kathleen Drew Baker (1901-1957), revered in Japan for her work on the life cycle of the seaweed known in Wales as laver (Japanese nori). It will include over a dozen artists who work with seaweed in printmaking, photography, painting, textiles and sculpture and is spread between here and the Northlight Gallery in Stromness, and the seaweed theme will be featured in Skaill House on Sunday 8. ..

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!