'Paradise (birds we cannot see)', Mark Fairnington

Painting of 14 unusual birds on perches

Oil on panel, 66 x 122 cm

Birds you cannot see, filling every tree. Falling out of closets and perched on the hands of dying men.

(Birds you cannot see, The Handsome Family)

This painting depicts a case of Birds of Paradise on display at the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum in Tring. Sir Walter Rothschild was famous in his lifetime for having a team of zebra pull his carriage up and down Piccadilly, their camouflage surprisingly effective in an urban environment.


Mark Fairnington was born in Gateshead in 1957. He studied at St. Martin’s School of Art 1976-79 and Goldsmiths’ College 1987-89. His first solo exhibition was at 121 Art Gallery Antwerp Belgium 1989; subsequent ones have included Todd Gallery London 1991 and 1994, Heavier Than Air Imperial War Museum London 1998, Gallery Axel Thieme Germany 1998 and 2000, Dead or Alive Harewood House and Oxford Museum of Natural History 2002 and Arlab, Imperial College London 2004. His project Fabulous Beasts 2003-4 culminated in an exhibition at the Jerwood Gallery 2004.