Away from the Flock
© Damien Hirst. All rights reserved, DACS 2009

Reference URL

Away from the Flock 1994
  • Artist Rooms
With this work Hirst is forcing us to focus on the humble sheep, an animal that has been providing us with food and warmth for centuries, transforming it from the mundane into something special. Its title, ‘Away from the Flock’, is a term we associate with religion, specifically Christianity, – "to leave the flock" is to leave behind the protection of the church. Hirst draws on precedents in earlier British art. In a famous painting by Holman Hunt, called ‘Our English Coasts’ or ‘Strayed Sheep’ 1852, the pre-Raphaelite artist shows straying sheep putting themselves at danger on the cliffs of southern England – a clear reference to religious decay. Although obviously dead and pickled in formaldehyde, the sheep in Hirst’s work looks oblivious to its fate and seems to be prancing with life.

Glossary Open

Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

A group of mid-19th century English artists inspired by the simplicity of pre-Renaissance Italian art, the name meaning 'before Raphael'. They favoured a close observation of nature and rejected academic rules. They drew on literature for subject matter and were closely associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. Members included John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood


  • Acc. No. AR00499
  • Medium Glass, stainless steel, Perspex, acrylic paint, lamb and formaldehyde solution
  • Size 96.00 x 149.00 x 51.00 cm
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008