Isabella Blow’s Head Is a Work of Art

The taxidermic animals—six magpies, two crows, a raven, a rattlesnake and a big black rat—immortalized in one of the National Portrait Gallery’s latest acquisitions are the makings of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. But these are the components (along with a Manolo shoe heel and tube of lipstick) of a sculpture called Isabella Blow, created in 2002 by artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster. When spotlit, the assemblage—which goes on view tomorrow—morphs into a jarring silhouette of Blow’s Philip Treacy-clad head, which seems to rest on a stake. Marrying vanity with death, the piece will undoubtedly disturb the squeamish. But something tells us the witches’ brew vibe would have gone down well with the oft-macabre muse.

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