Icon Diploma Student

Learning to see with the eye of the heart

Posts from the ‘Sculpture’ category

Part Two – Our Lady of Lincoln


Our Lady of Lincoln

Our Lady of Lincoln

Greetings Icon friends and my very best wishes for a very happy Eastertide!

After the visit to York Minster, I felt I had to see the work that Aidan Hart, our icon diploma teacher, has been steadily sculpting in the heart of the Shropshire countryside. Aidan has been commissioned to carve in stone a 1.9 metre (6.2 feet) high statue of Our Lady of Lincoln for a chapel at the east end of Lincoln Cathedral. Work is fast approaching completion and to see this magnificent creation in its cradle so to speak, is a rare privelege indeed and again, it’s an experience to be shared.

folds of Our Lady's cloak under Aidan's watchful eye.

Martin Earle carving the folds of Our Lady’s cloak under Aidan’s watchful eye.

It was quite something to witness our fellow icon diploma student Martin Earle, hard at work on this magnificent sculpture too! Martin, I am most impressed – you have nerves of steel!

Aidan has written a fascinating article about this sculpture for the Orthodox Arts Journal  and there is a little more on his website here.

I was really excited to be able to see this work being carved in-situ and have no doubt that you would like to catch a glimpse through these images too.

Romanesque style folds of her garments

Our Lady of Lincoln showing the Romanesque style folds of her garments

Note the characteristic sweep of the drapery echoing that of the Romanesque carving of Our Lady of York Minster.

Drapery folds on Our Lady of York Minster

Drapery folds on Our Lady of York Minster

I dont want to steal the sheer delight of seeing this work in real life – but Our Lady looks utterly beautiful.

Our Lady of Lincoln

Our Lady of Lincoln

The expression on Our Lady’s face is so inviting and open; she seems to draw you towards her from over the fields and beyond.

Our Lady of Lincoln in Shropshire

Our Lady of Lincoln in Shropshire

I couldn’t resist distracting the workers with a photo call!

Jeremy Schrecker, Aidan Hart and Martin Earle

Jeremy Schrecker, Aidan Hart and Martin Earle

Meet Jeremy Schrecker, http://www.schrecker.co.uk/index.html a sculptor who is working in the barn alongside Aidan and Martin – please do have a look at his website. Such talent secreted away in the most unexpected places.

Thanks for letting me visit Aidan and Martin and thank you for reading!



A Glimpse Behind the Scenes (Part One of Two)

New sculpture of St Peter of York

The Eyes of St Peter of York

Hello icon friends

Part One: York Minster – a Glimpse Behind the Scenes

This is a step away from my usual posts. However, if you would like to take an armchair trip with me first to York Minster then, in part 2,  to the creative heart of Shropshire, then fill up your mug and join me here for the next few minutes. I have included links to websites with more in-depth articles; these will give you a much richer picture of the scope of what is going on. I have also tried to include photos of parts that are otherwise out of sight to give you a feel of our visit.

An offer not to be refused
An invitation by Andrew Arrol  Surveyor for the Fabric of York Minster, to see work in progress is a rare and privileged opportunity and certainly one to be accepted and shared.

View from the top of the east end of York Minster

The recently landscaped south entrance, viewed from the top of the east end of York Minster

As a former York resident, I recall the Minster being shrouded in scaffolding throughout my childhood. For years the residents only had glimpses of the mysterious work going on behind the hoardings. So, for me to be able to witness work at close quarters was a real joy and I was delighted that Martin Earle (fellow icon student) and his fiancee Katherine, could join me. Martin is working with Aidan Hart on the sculpture of Our Lady of Lincoln as I write, (more on this in part 2).

There is a much more open approach to the conservation work at the Minster and educational visits form part of Andrew’s remit. For an overview of what is going on with the works, click on York Minster.
One of our hopes for the visit was to see the newly carved St Peter, recently installed above the Great East Window. The original figure had been dismantled and studied although the severe erosion of the features meant a great deal of research before the new face of St Peter could be formed. The existing figure had been carefully analysed so that when the new figure was in place, it would include the same foreshortening of the figure to correct the view from the ground.

The original St Peter

The original St Peter badly worn by weather erosion

To give you an idea of where St Peter has been located – it is not far from the top of the lift shaft.

Martin and Katherine standing at the foot of the East end of

Martin and Katherine standing at the foot of the East End of York Minster

The new St Peter is a magnificent work of art, a seated figure of over six feet. An extract from York Minster’s weblink below reads: ‘It has been designed by Martin Coward of York Minster’s Stoneyard, who created scale models in clay, before a full size version of the approved design was sculpted and cast in plaster of Paris.  Martin is carving the top section of the figure, including the detailed head’.

The new stone figure of St Peter, in place above the east window.

The new stone figure of St Peter, in place above the east window.

There is a full description of the work behind St Peter on York Minster Revealed

New stonework indented into existing window arches

New stonework indented into existing window arches

Every stone has been surveyed and great care has been taken to maintain as much of the old masonry as possible. Each stone is assessed according to its exposure and position as to whether it can last well into the next century and replaced only if necessary.

Queen of Heaven

Queen of Heaven

There is a wonderful creative spirit with the stonemasons as they have been free to design the images that grace the uppermost parts of the building. Most of these will never be seen from the ground so here are a few birds eye views:

A tiny figure clings on to the tracery

A tiny figure clings on to the tracery

Plague Doctor carving

The Plague Doctor



Now taking you swiftly down from the heights to the very bottom of the building and into the crypt, to find the medieval stone carving of the Virgin of York, a subject very dear to both Martin and Aidans’ hearts, but more about that in my next post.

Virgin of york Minster

Virgin of York Minster

The inscription reads ‘SCA MARIa’ Saint Mary. Mary holds the infant whose hand is raised in blessing. Much is still to be discovered about this image such as the type of stone it has been carved from and the exact date. The scuplture is Romanesque in style with Byzantine influence and it is considered to be from around the 12th Century.  The damage could have been as a result of the 16th century iconoclasm or ocurred during the course of past building works. It was discovered in 1829 after a fire broke out in the Quire.

The Stone Masons at work in York  Minster

The stone masons at work in York Minster

There is so much more I could write about our visit such as the beautiful woodwork in the Chapter House, the repair work to the stained glass of the Great East window, more on the stone repairs and so on, but I want to pause here to acknowledge the masons. They are in a league of their own – master craftsmen and craftswomen par excellence!

To Andrew Arrol and your team – thank you so much for a truly memorable visit.