The Aesthete: Polly Morgan talks personal taste

The artist’s sculptural work has subverted the traditions of taxidermy and is sought after among leading international collectors and curators

Polly Morgan at home in London
Polly Morgan at home in London | Image: Jake Curtis

My personal style signifier is a masculine blazer or overcoat; I like the boxy shape and oversized look. My favourites include an Acne overcoat in dark blue wool and a dove-grey one by Richard Nicoll.

Morgan’s Richard Nicoll coat
Morgan’s Richard Nicoll coat | Image: Jake Curtis

The last thing I bought and loved was a pair of Lara Bohinc cylindrical marble and brass candleholders, made in collaboration with stone specialist Lapicida. I love their clean, modern lines and simple abstract shape. One is pale green, the other pink. From £420;


And the thing I’m eyeing next is a plot of land in Gloucestershire – I’d like to put up a prefab modern house with huge picture windows. I’ve always been inspired by beautifully simple structures like Philip Johnson’s masterful Glass House in Connecticut. The London-based architectural practice Ecospace offers a similar aesthetic.

Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama at Benesse House on the island of Naoshima, Japan
Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama at Benesse House on the island of Naoshima, Japan | Image: Alamy Stock Photo

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Japan’s Naoshima Island. One half of the island is devoted to Tadao Ando-designed contemporary art galleries; the other is still an industrial fishing town. Parts are quite rough-and-ready, but then you might stumble across a beautiful James Turrell installation on the site of a former temple. The island’s art collection as a whole is amazing and the natural light in the museums is incredible. We stayed at Benesse House, which is the island’s most significant museum as well as a hotel – you can get up and pad around the artworks in the middle of the night.

A Bobby Dazzler doll
A Bobby Dazzler doll | Image: Geoff Dann

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Ron Nagle, who makes very small, intriguingly beautiful and tactile – almost edible-looking – sculptures. I only discovered his work a year ago at the Matthew Marks Gallery in New York and started delving deeper. 523 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011 (+1212-243 0200;

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) | Image: Alamy Stock Photo

A recent “find” is Bobby Dazzler, a doll-maker in Brick Lane set up by two illustrators. Their soft dolls are quite old-fashioned and eccentric-looking. I have ordered replicas of my two dogs, Tony and Trotsky. Made-to-order, £130;

Catching Fairies by Mat Collishaw
Catching Fairies by Mat Collishaw | Image: Jake Curtis

An object I would never part with is one of my boyfriend Mat Collishaw’s early works, Catching Fairies, made in his 20s. It’s a picture of him in Clapton Pond, seemingly catching fairies with a net. It is reminiscent of Victorian imagery and was quite a big piece at the time; it was on the cover of Frieze. He looks so young, and there’s something so sweet and hopeful about it.


The site that inspires me is the Dia:Beacon art gallery on the Hudson. It had a profound influence on my work when I went. It was showing a collection of American minimalists I loved, but it was the spectacular way the gallery presented the art that blew me away. I now think more carefully about how I exhibit my pieces – the frame, the plinth – and if there is a weak link I remove it or abandon the whole piece. 3 Beekman Street, New York, NY 12508 (+1845-440 0100;

If I didn’t live in London, the city I would live in is LA. I love the light and the way this pulsating metropolis is fringed by the sea on one side and countryside and canyons on the other. In terms of art, I could happily spend entire days at LACMA, and I like the artists represented at the Blum & Poe gallery, such as Matt Johnson, who makes minimal sculptures from everyday objects. Eames House in Pacific Palisades is another favourite – modernist design can feel clinical, but this house shows it can be cosy and practical too. Blum & Poe, 2727 La Cienega Boulevard (+1310-836 2062; Eames Foundation, 203 Chautauqua Boulevard (+1310‑459 9663; LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard (+1323-857 6010;

My favourite websites include the architecture site – I love scrolling through the amazing places and often take a screenshot to file away for inspiration – and, for interiors ideas.

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