Aidan Hart
Aidan Hart

I guide students step by step through the stages of making an icon in egg tempera. Each time after demonstrating a stage to the class, I circulate to give one to one tuition. As we go along I explain the spiritual basis behind each stylistic aspect of the tradition. At least a month before the course students are sent a colour image of the icon we are to paint, and are asked to produce a drawing of it to bring to the course.

What will students gain if they come on one of your courses?

Students should be able to complete most or all of the chosen icon. If beginners they will learn the essential processes of mixing and building up the paint layers; if more advanced, they will learn new techniques of modelling.

Are there any particular techniques/processes you use in your teaching?

On the average I do at least three demonstrations a day, each lasting about 15 minutes, and thereafter spend one-to-one time with the students. Together we try to unearth the timeless principles that make masterpieces what they are.

What inspires your own work?

My aim is to manifest in paint something of the beauty of the divine image in the human person. I also seek to discover the timeless principles that have produced the masterpieces of Byzantine, Russian and Romanesque iconography, and develop a contemporary expression of these in my own iconography.

Where can students see examples of your work?

My website has many images. Also, on the “Biography” page there is a list of some my commissioned work and where it can be seen.

Where did you gain your training? Experience?

I did a BA in literature in New Zealand, and gained a Diploma in Education as a secondary school teacher. My training as an iconographer has come from many sources: analysing old icons seen on travels in Russia and while living in Greece for three years; researching the findings of icon conservators; books; discussions with other experienced iconographers.

Teaching experience:

I have been teaching one-week icon courses at least twice a year for over 10 years. I am also a visiting tutor to Masters students at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, London, and have lectured widely in places as the CambridgeUniversity International Summer Schools, Inscape, and the British Library.

Is your work in any public or private collections?

Since 1980 Aidan has completed over 700 private and church commissions, in sculpture and fresco as well as in egg tempera. A small selection is listed below:

  • 1980 Crucifix for St Paul’s Anglican Church, Auckland
  • 1981 Bronze statue of St Francis of Assisi for St BarnabasChurch, Auckland
  • 1983 Wooden carved cross for The Parish of St John of Kronstadt. Bath
  • 1984 Wooden cross for the Convent of St John of Kronstadt, Bath
  • 1985 Wooden cross for a school in Belfast, commissioned by Lord Hilton
  • 1986 Bronze icon for Sir John Tavener
  • 1989 Icon of St Wilfrid, for Hexham Abbey, Northumberland
  • 1990 Large icon for Birmingham Greek Orthodox Cathedral
  • 1991 Icons of the Crucifixion and the Virgin for St Ann’s Church, Kew Gardens, London
  • 1992 Tabernacle for the Monastery of St Silouan, Saint Mars de Locquenay, France
  • 1993 Carved oak casing for the Portaitissa icon, Iviron Monastery, Mount Athos, Greece
  • Iviron commissions an icon for His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomeios
  • Iviron commission a design of large embroidery to adorn the Portaitissa icon
  • 1995 Fresco the chapel of the Hermitage of St. Anthony and St Cuthbert, Shropshire
  • 1996 Twelve feast icons for St John’s Anglican Church, Clevedon, Bristol
  • 1996-2000 Carved oak icon screen, icons and stone altar for The Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Fathers, Shrewsbury.
  • 1997 The Antiochian Deanery of Britain commission an icon of St Chad for Lichfield Cathedral
  • 1998 Icon screen, icons, tabernacle and silver lamps for the Chapel of St Joseph’s Presbytery, Barnoldswick, Lancashire
  • 1999 Icon of the Virgin for Hereford Cathedral
  • 1999-2004 Icons for HRH The Prince of Wales
  • 2000-2003 Illustrations on vellum for The Saint Johns Bible, St. John’s Abbey. Minnesota, USA.
  • 2002 Fresco the Chapel of the Holy Veil in Limni, Evia, Greece
  • 2002 Fresco of the Annunciation for a private house in Cumbria
  • 2003 Fresco for HRH The Prince of Wales, at Highgrove, England

  • Icons of the Mother of God and St. Nicholas for St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle-on-Tyne
  • Icon of Francis of Assisi for church in Spain
  • Transfiguration icon for St Gasty Retreat House, Wales
  • The Bishop of Warwick commissions an icon of the Transfiguration

  • The Merciful Jesus for St Martin’s Church, Cardiff
  • Carve icon screen and paint the icons for The Greek Orthodox
  • Cathedral of Camberwell, London

  • Frescoes for a private chapel in Keswick, Cumbria
  • Frescoes for chapel of Shrewsbury School
  • Commissioned by Westminster Cathedral to design and make two mosaics
  • Icon for Carlisle Cathedral

  • Icon of John the Baptist for St John’sUniversity, Minneapolis.
  • Portrait bust commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales of Patrick Holden, Director of the Soil Association
Books and articles:

Books I am currently writing a book commissioned by Gracewing Publishers on the techniques of icon and wall painting. Articles and catalogues:

  • ISBN 09536698. "A Beauty with Fire" in "Modern Painters"; art criticism; article; Fine Art Journals Ltd, London; 2000 Spring.
  • ISSN 0266 4771 "The Tradition of Sacred Iconography” in "Harvest”; Jungian studies; chapter; C.G. Jung Analytical Psychology Club, London; 1992, Vol 38
  • ISBN 960 328 129 8. "Poreia sto Kallos" in Greek in “2000 Years After”; religious; chapter; Akritas, Athens, 2000 “Constantin Brancusi: A Modernist Against Modernism” in “Second Spring”; religious/cultural commentary; G.K. Chesterton Institute, Oxford; 2006 Spring.
  • ISBN 1 870797 07 8; “Sacred Icons: Paradise Regained”; exhibition catalogue; sole author; Oriel 31, Wales; 1991
  • ISBN 0 947805 35 4; “Sacred Icons”; exhibition catalogue; sole author; Greek Church of Shrewsbury for Orthodox Christian Millennium Festival, UK; 2000
  • ISSN 1087 3503; “Icons of Grace: The Art of Paul Martin” in “Image: A Journal of Arts and Religion”; art criticism; article; The Hillsdale review, Inc, USA; 1996 number 15.
  • ISSN 0273 6969; “The Icon and Contemporary Art” in “Epiphany”; religion and culture; article; Christ the Saviour Brotherhood, NY; 1991 Spring.
  • ISSN 0273 6969; “Beauty and the Gospel” in “Epiphany”; religion and culture; article; Christ the Saviour Brotherhood, NY; 1992 Fall, 1993 Winter and Spring.
  • ISSN 1461 779X; “Life and Architecture on Mount Athos” in “TemenosAcademy Review”; scholarly; article; The Temenos Academy, Kent, UK; 2003..
Professional groups and societies:

The Society of Authors
Patron of the British Association of Iconographers