Sunday, 21 October 2012

An amazing morning

 This morning at the 10.00 am Eucharist I was called out of my place in the choir by the Rector, in order to receive a blessing on the Icon of St Francis, commissioned by me and painted/written by our wonderful in-house Iconographer.

It was a really happy moment, in what turned out to be a very good service.  The sermon was a good one, the choir sang very well (particularly the anthem by John Ireland), and yours truly was, to say the least ecstatic.

When I got the superb finished work home I thought I'd photograph it and show it, in all its glory, on my blog.

I had reckoned without my total lack of skill as a photographer, my ham-fistedness in trying to set up a decent background and my still absolute inability to understand the mechanics of lighting.

The odd thing was that each time I tried to find a new background or the correct amount of daylight something totally different happened.  The result was a really extraordinary collection of near-miss photos each one quite distinct from the last, none of them even beginning to do justice to the subject and one of them with all the appearance of a halo of light rather than gold.

Now I am not easily spooked, but, as each attempt became further and further from the original I got more and more nervous.

If you click on each of these you will see just how very different each one appears.

Needless to say the real thing is utterly beautiful, a joy to behold (I hardly dare say own) and more than meets my hopes and expectations.

My photographs forgive the expression, do so little justice to it that I hardly dared reproduce them here, but thought I needed to.
partly to try to show you what a wonderful version it is,but also to demonstrate that the camera can indeed prove to have a life of its own.

Since none of  the photographs really show all the details I must tell you that one of the things I had specifically asked for was that there should be a cat peeping out from under the robe of the saint.

In addition I wanted him to be looking out rather than to the side as he is depicted in most paintings.

This as you may see was brilliantly accomplished.

The lovely Constantina added her own little touches of humour, a squirrel, a penguin and the most mischievous looking wolf ever seen.

It is altogether a thing of beauty and for me at least, will be a joy forever.

In the unlikely event that I ever become a competent photographer I will take a good picture and re-post it so everyone can enjoy my treasure.


  1. Ray, that is a truly magnificent icon! It is so beautiful and meaningful and I can well understand why you are so overwhelmed to have it. I think it's wonderful, both that you have an in-house iconographer and that you commissioned such a fine portrayal of one of my very favourite saints. I know envy is a sin, but I can't help it.....

  2. Wow, Ray! That's fantastic. I LOVE the cat! It does indeed sound like a wonderful day, and the icon is breathtaking. Photographing something like this is so tricky, and you were right to show us a variety of shots and how the camera brought out different things. Love the shiny halo one. Just lovely.

  3. Some new photos coming from the iconographer who is trying very hard to be learn humility as a novice Franciscan and failing! thanks Ray for loving him so much and for lovely comments above by peoples. XX

  4. That's beautiful!
    We had similar troubles trying to take photographs of our new stained glass window...

  5. Well actually Perpetua it was envy of a sort which made me commission St Francis.
    Constantina our iconographer/artist in residence had produced a magnificent large Icon of Christ for a church,I think in Fulham, and I was so overwhelmed by it that I simply had to have one of my favourite saint.
    I know there are rules to follow but I asked if the colours could be my favourite blues greens and greys, rather than the more usual browns oranges and yellows.
    Along with the cat peeping out from under the robe I got everything and more than I could have hoped for.

  6. It really is lovely isn't it Penny? The photographs are very poor but none the less interesting in that they are so very different.
    Constantina has emailed me some pictures she took of it before it was given its final shellac finish.
    When I have time I will post them, they are so very much better than mine.

  7. Duly received and downloaded Constantina. Thanks.
    Will post them soon. Humility doesn't mean that you cannot be appreciated for your worth.
    As everyone who has seen it says, it is really beautiful.

  8. Glad you like it Claire. I know what you mean about stained glass. We have a wonderful west window in St Mary's which is well-nigh impossible to photograph properly.
    The light is never in the right place.