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.