From Wild Beginnings to Wild Art at the Museum of Somerset

The Boys’ Own adventures of Taunton brothers Andrew and David Neal have inspired the Museum of Somerset’s autumn exhibition, ‘Wild Art: Nature Re-imagined’.


Opening on Saturday 8 October the exhibition features photography, sculpture and painting by the brothers. Fascinated by nature since childhood, they explored the Somerset countryside on family walks and on cycling and canoe adventures in the 1940s and ’50s. Their father was Dr Ernest Neal, Head of Biology at Taunton School and first chairman of what later became the Somerset Wildlife Trust.


From these beginnings two very different artists developed. Following careers in engineering and teaching, David became a sculptor and painter.  The works featured in the exhibition reflect his fascination with structure, form and the natural world.  


Andrew was inspired by his father’s pioneering photography and film-making to take up a career in television production, including a period as Head of the BBC Natural History Unit. Andrew’s photography discovers human and animal forms hidden in the landscape and invites viewers to offer their own interpretations. 

Curator Sam Astill said: “As boys the Neal brothers collected plants, butterflies and other specimens for a mini-museum in the attic of their family home. It is good that we are all now able to share their art in the Museum of Somerset.

“We’re also delighted to be honouring their father’s contribution to conservation by holding a joint event with the Somerset Wildlife Trust which Dr Neal helped to establish in 1964.”

Associated events

Thursday 3 November at 7.00 pm

Talking Nature

Andrew and David Neal share their love of nature in conversation with the President of the Somerset Wildlife Trust, Stephen Moss. Tickets £9.50, booking required.

Saturday 26 November at 11.00 am–1.00 pm and 2.00–3.30 pm

Family Fun

Free nature-themed family fun activities. Suitable for ages 3–11.

Friday 9 December at 2.30 pm

Tea and Talk

Join David and Andrew Neal for a talk about ‘Wild Art’ followed by tea and cake. £5, booking advised.

The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm, Taunton, TA1 4AA. The exhibition is free to enter and runs until 31 December.

The Museum of Somerset is part of The South West Heritage Trust, an independent charity committed to protecting and celebrating Somerset and Devon’s rich heritage.