Last year ended with a little rush of interesting commissions, which I am sending out this week. The first was a request for John the Baptist, pictured as an angel: this is a late Byzantine representation of him, presumably a visual play on the Greek word for herald or messenger, which is 'angelos'. Then I was asked for an icon of Wilfrid Bishop of Ripon: he was a 7th C Anglo-Saxon contemporary with St Chad and Theodore of Tarsus/Canterbury, and the original crypt of the great abbey he built in Hexham still remains intact. The next was St Thomas Aquinas 13th century Dominican scholar, and archititect of much doctrine: he was reputedly so fat that when he died upstairs in the monastery of Fossanova, the monks struggled to get the body down the spiral staircase. I would think it would be difficult to get a coffin of any size down a medieval staircase, and modern historians suspect that it was a thyroid condition rather than gluttony which caused the saint's plumpness. Last but most unusual was a request for St Anatolius of Laodicea. He was a 3rd century mathematician and philosopher from Alexandria, and there are still some writings of his on mathematics surviving. He ended his life as Bishop of Laodicea, now a ruined city in modern Turkey.
The view from my desk
Current work, places and events, art travel, and interesting snippets about Christian icons, medieval art, manuscript illumination, egg tempera , gilding, technique and materials.