ALCHEMICAL AVIARY was selcted for this year's annual Summer Show at the Royal Academy on Piccadily in London. The Exhibition runs from the 18th to the 28th of June 2024.

Climate Change investigation using Alchemical Birds as metaphor for ecological Transmutation.

ALCHEMICAL AVIARY is an Artist's Book by David Faithfull, exploring the theme:

'LIMINAL' Tipping Point, transition, change of state.


The original five phases of alchemical transformation explored in the book:


The Crow (the blackening):

Withdrawing from the external world to the darker inner world of the soul, through a process of combustion or carbonation through fire, the individual approaches metamorphosis, and through darkness seeks regeneration.


The Swan (the whitening): And then by fire and ash comes the false illumination in the pure spirit of the brilliant, blinding light of self-doubt, the inner world trapped on the surface between the etheric and the physical worlds.


The Peacock (the iridescence): Having witnessed that false dawn and hope’s annihilation, a kaleidoscope of confusion heralds the astral world and irradiated ego procreates and renunciation blossoms forth, the true beginning of transformation.


The Pelican (the distillation): Only through ultimate sacrifice does the ego transcend the physical body. Striking its contoured belly with the curved scimitar of its beak, the bird nourishes its prodigy and is thence consumed - transformation through, pain, trial and sacrifice.


The Phoenix (the sublimation): By eradication of self through sacrificial resignation, ultimate transcendence is complete and from the ashes of the pierced and charred corpse the spirit is ultimately resurrected in its enlightened purity and form.


The contemporary sixth phase


The Dotterel (The extinction): And countering this cycle of immortality, the bird pursued by the inevitability of climatic change, retreats further up its bleak mountain peak, forced into a tourniquet of ecological misfortune, it has no choice but to finally launch itself from the mountain top one last time, into eternal oblivion.





Global warming is regarded as a major threat to birds and other biodiversity. In particular, birds of montane habitats are especially susceptible to climate change impacts, as they have restricted opportunities to move to higher elevations to find suitable climate space. The Dotterel is one of several birds on the UK’s endangered species list. Through global warming its Cairngorm habitat has been irreversibly changed.