Eileen Chattaway

eileen-chattaway-1.pngeileen-chattaway-2.pngMrs Eileen Chattaway died peacefully after a short illness on 9 February 2017. She was a keen field mycologist and became a skilled modeller of the larger fungi, initiating the BMS collection of Fungus Models which became known as the Travelling Exhibition. In 1987, the British Mycological Society arranged a Fungus Modelling Workshop in Pershore, Worcs. given by Dr S. Diamandis from Greece who specialised in latex modelling techniques. Eileen was one of the participants and by 1996 she had made 35 tableaux of diverse fungi.

These she first kept at home but she thought that they would be more useful if she loaned most of them to the BMS for the purpose of a Travelling Exhibition to the general public. Each species was modelled from living material and consisted of one or more fungus fruiting bodies mounted in their natural habitat and set upon a thick piece of cork (see Plate 1 and 2).


The first exhibition was held at the Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in Bath. Eileen herself brought her models to Bath carefully wrapped for transit but it was recognized after the exhibition that individual boxes for each model were needed for travelling purposes. Transparent boxes were therefore made for each model.

Eileen's loan consisted of her first 29 models depicting 33 species. She received a Benefactors Medal from the Society in the year 2000.

By 2008 her loan had stimulated the acquisition by the BMS of some 80 further sets of models representing 75 species. Some of these had been bought by and others loaned to the BMS by a range of model makers. By 2008 this pool of models representing the BMS Travelling Exhibition enabled groups of fungi to be shown to the public for varying periods of time at some 30 venues including museums at Ipswich, Liverpool, Bristol, Bedford, Swansea, Lyndhurst, Aylesbury, Luton, Melton Mowbray, Thornbury (Glos.) and in London. Other prestigious sites were the Chelsea Flower Show and Kew Gardens. In 2010 the venue was Edinburgh, to include the International Mycological Congress, and thence to the National Botanic Garden of Wales at Llanarthne where a new exhibition entitled "From Another Kingdom" was established.

eileen-chattaway-4.pngEileen's Models have now passed to her family, her daughter Lorraine Stevens and grand-daughters Alexis and Anna Stevens, all of whom wish that the models remain in the public eye and that their loan status to the BMS is maintained. It is proposed to display Eileen's models this year at the Welsh Botanic Garden on UK Fungus Day (8/9 Oct.), at the BMS Open Meeting at Kew (25 Nov) and thereafter at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society.

Henry Tribe, (Curator of the Travelling Exhibition 1987-2010)