View all projects Mark Fairnington: The Horniman’s hidden worldArt Happens



By Horniman Museum and Gardens, London


Jo Hatton

Keeper of natural history

  • £9,713Raised
  • 177Funders
  • Happening28 Nov 2015

We want to stage an exhibition of Mark Fairnington's paintings alongside their inspiration, our collection's hidden taxidermy treasures.

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We need your help to fund Mark Fairnington’s autumn exhibition at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, where we will display his paintings alongside the specimens that inspired them. The objects will be presented as they are in storage, evoking the wonder Mark experienced when he found them for the first time.

Mark Fairnington is a British painter whose work explores the lineage of animal and plant painting, and its relation to how humans understand the natural world. He has been exploring the natural history specimens at the Horniman over the past five years; looking into hidden spaces in our collection and painting the objects he has found. Like many museums, most of our collection is not on public display – thousands of objects are kept boxed and wrapped in storage. These storage depots are full of peculiar, breathtaking and surreal images: taxidermy specimens wrapped in transparent plastic sheets, skeletons perched in wooden boxes, a small pet dog lying in a nest of tissue paper.

Please help us raise the money so that we can show you more of Mark’s stunning work and reveal the secrets of the Horniman store. In return for your donation, you will receive one of a number of wonderful rewards. These include limited-edition postcards, prints and bags, as well as a chance to meet Mark behind the scenes.

About the artist

Mark Fairnington © Colin Davison

Mark Fairnington

Mark Fairnington has shown extensively in museums and private galleries in the US and Europe. His practice is founded on painting as a primary method of research, and his pictures – which are drawn from many sources, particularly photography – combine obsessive surface detail with sensuous precision. They examine how painting, as a meticulously constructed surface, can interrogate and re-present an image. The subjects of Fairnington’s paintings are made more singular through being painted. He has worked with the Imperial War Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Horniman Museum and Gardens and the Wellcome Collection. Fairnington’s most recent solo exhibition Unnatural History was a retrospective at the Mannheimer Kunstverein and Galerie Peter Zimmermann in Germany. 

Latest updates

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  • We've made it!
  • 25 April 2015
  • By Jo Hatton
  • You have made art happen at the Horniman. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped us reach our target – this really wouldn’t have been possible without your support.

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  • New work by Mark Fairnington
  • 15 April 2015
  • By Jo Hatton
  • With just two weeks of our crowdfunding project left we are excited to give you an exclusive first look at one of Mark’s newest works.

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  • From store to show
  • 8 April 2015
  • By Jo Hatton
  • We are inching ever closer to our target of £9,500 at 36%. At this point we’d like to give a brief insight into what putting on an exhibition like this actually involves.

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  • Interview: Mark Fairnington
  • 17 March 2015
  • By
  • The artist tells us more about his forthcoming exhibition at the Horniman, which we're crowdfunding, and explains his fascination with taxidermy.

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  • Thanks totes!
  • 6 March 2015
  • By Jo Hatton
  • Thank you to everyone who has donated so far and taken us to 15% of our funding targent.

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Comments (3)

  • Jo
  • 23 March 2015 - 10:36
  • Thank you for your question Kevin, the beautiful silk scarf is 34 inches square.

  • Kevin
  • 20 March 2015 - 17:07
  • boringly practical question - how big is the silk scarf?

  • Lorraine, London
  • 3 March 2015 - 22:58
  • Looking forward to discovering the hidden treasures of the Horniman Museum!

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