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Good Morning Mr Bewick

Good Morning Mr Bewick

Published on: 12 December 2023

A new digital artwork imagines a conversation with famed Northumbrian naturalist Thomas Bewick (1753 – 1828).

Look beyond the images

Viewers of Good Morning Mr Bewick, by artist Mark Fairnington, navigate the piece as a journey, a walk through a landscape divided into three parts -Place, People and Nature.

In 2018, Fairnington responded to Thomas Bewick’s birthplace at Cherryburn by walking nearby and painting the contemporary landscape and producing an installation including 16 miniature paintings. These works are featured in Good Morning Mr Bewick

 “This new digital work reflects upon some of the ways in which mine and Bewick’s thoughts about the Northumberland countryside overlap and connect,” explains Mark Fairnington. “It was a way of looking back at the commission and developing some of the ideas that influenced my thinking about the paintings.

Good Morning Mr Bewick was designed to enable the viewer to look beyond the images in the prints and the paintings to focus on magnified details, the individual marks which build to make the final works. I made the paintings with enlarged copies of Bewick’s prints to refer to, reflecting the complexity and versatility of his mark-making in its observation and examination of natural surfaces.”

Mark Fairnington’s paintings are known for their intense realism and observed detail.  They vary tremendously in scale from large scale paintings of mounted insects, taxidermy displays of birds, flowers, portraits of prize stud bulls to the series of miniature eye paintings. He worked with Mnemoscene, to turn the original paintings created for Cherryburn into a visual, digital storytelling experience.

Hethpool Falls by Mark Fairnington. Part of the Good Morning Mr Bewick project
Hethpool Falls by Mark Fairnington


Good Morning Mr Bewick  is one of four commissions generated as part of the  Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project On-Site/Off-Site which is led by Newcastle University in partnership with the Bewick SocietyNational Trust and Arts&Heritage.

Project lead, Professor Vee Pollock, Dean of Culture and Creative Arts at Newcastle University said: "Bewick's mark-making is something that has intrigued and inspired many of the artists involved in our On-Site/Off-Site series of commissions. Within Mark's paintings, mark-making was so integral to conveying his experience of landscape and response to Bewick, that it is fantastic to have that as a central focus of this re-presentation of the works in digital form."

Visitor Operations & Experience Manager at the National Trust Kay Owen said: “Mark’s exhibition at Cherryburn – Walking, Looking and Telling Tales - allowed visitors to explore the striking landscape that encompasses Cherryburn and, through Mark’s work, to form a connection between the past and the present with a shared appreciation of both artists’ work and the area’s beauty. This new digital work enables us to view Bewick’s legacy from a new perspective and introduces Bewick and his world to a new audience.”

 Good Morning Mr Bewick  is the third artwork from On-Site/Off-Site to go live. Marcus Coates’ Video Conference for the Birds, which shows a group of birds discussing their life, their habitats, and their concerns for the future on a video conference call, was first followed by Hanna Tuulikki’s Avi-Alarm, which turned five endangered birds into Instagram filters.

On-Site/Off-Site explores the potential of digital technologies to support contemporary art commissioning for heritage sites. Each of the works produced will respond to the work of Thomas Bewick who himself embraced the latest technologies of the eighteenth century to manifest his love of the countryside and nature through exquisitely detailed prints, drawings, and engravings to reach wide audiences.

Find out more about On-Site/Off-Site here:



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