Icon Diploma Student

Learning to see with the eye of the heart

For the love of colour

So how did the work of twelve icon diploma graduates end up in the window of L. Cornelissen this month?

man looking in window of Cornelissens

Pausing to read about the icons on display (photo courtesy John Cruwys)

It’s hard to pinpoint where this great moment began but my long held love of calligraphy  and illuminated manuscripts led me to learn how to gild with Patricia Lovett. We’ve kept in touch over the past 12 years and through mutual friends on social media, I have also to come to know and admire the work of another artist and calligrapher Lin Kerr. Both Patricia and Lin are natural teachers, love colour and their enthusiasm for their art is infectious.

One of the common threads linking us has been Cornelissen’s, home to pigments, gold, gesso and some of the most obscure ingredients for icon painters and artists alike.

Lin had spotted one of my Instagram posts ‘Eccleshall Gold’ on vellum and tipped me off that Patricia was setting up an exhibition ‘Gold on Parchment‘ on behalf of the Heritage Crafts Association, for London Craft Week 2016 at Cornelissen’s. This was to promote work on vellum/parchment following the results of the campaign to keep the acts of parliament recorded on vellum.

Eccleshall High street on vellum unframed

Eccleshall Gold

Patricia kindly agreed to include both this and ‘Armenian Nativity‘, a piece that I was working on for the icon diploma.  The range of work on display demonstrated many of the gilders’ tools and pigments sold inside Cornelissen’s and naturally drew people into the shop. This little icon on vellum seemed to attract quite a bit of interest – possibly the vibrant contrast of the vermillion agains the deep blues? Who knows, but this was the link that led to the current window exhibition by The PSTA‘s icon diploma graduates, only a few months later.


illuminated manusript armenina nativity


I couldn’t resist following on with two more icons based on an illuminated manuscript – this time the St Albans Psalter, both pigment rich examples.


Passer-by stops for a photo (photo JLC)


Mary Magdalene announces the resurrection of Christ to the Disciples


Three Maries at the empty tomb of Christ

So this is our last week on show in the heart of London as the display comes down on Friday. It has been an honour and such a blast – thanks from all of us icon graduates to Nicholas Walt and the staff at Cornelissens for our moment of glory in your window and not forgetting Patricia and Lin who were instrumental in making all this happen.

Thanks for reading,


2 Responses to “For the love of colour”

  1. Christina watson

    Dear Ronnie, I have only just stumbled on this part of your icon journey, it has meant so much more to me now though and I have shared it with my fellow students as we organised the delivery of our Icons from the Princes School to Cornelissens. Kathy was going to make the window display today so hopefully it is now done. Thank you so much for your commentary and examples. I have to say it’s good to be back home. I hope you are keeping well. I must make sure that I keep up to date with your beautiful work.
    Love, in Christ.
    Christina Watson

    • ronniecruwys

      Dear Christina, Congratulations! You made it! What an achievement and such a privileged experience we share. I have seen glimpses of the exhibition through the posts shared by Michelle – and it has brought back many happy memories. I am over the moon that Cornelissen’s are hosting another window display – it was such a thrill to see them gleaming in the late Autumn light. You must all be exhausted but very happy! We moved up to Scotland last year (long story) so it was a bit too far to nip down to London to see the show but I trust it all went well.
      So lovely to hear from you and thanks for getting in touch. Much love Ronnie


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: