01 February 2022, The Tablet

Prince of Wales visits icon exhibition at Farm St

Prince of Wales visits icon exhibition at Farm St

Photo by Ruth Gledhill

The Prince of Wales this evening visited Dr Irina Bradley’s “Metamorphosis” Icon Exhibition at the Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception in Farm Street, Mayfair, meeting the artist, her family and staff and clergy of the church. He also met volunteers and others involved with the church’s ministry to homeless people.

Dr Bradley, who studied for her doctorate at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, said she and Prince Charles had discussed their shared interest in iconography when he attended the graduates’ exhibition in 2015. He has maintained an interest in her work ever since, in keeping with his affinity with eastern orthodoxy. He is known to have visited Mount Athos several times.

“Just talking to him, I found him to be a spiritual person who is genuinely curious about people,” she said after the Farm Street visit, when she gave him an icon of St Corona that she had recently completed for him, a gift in recognition of his recovery from Covid-19.

Dr Bradley discusses iconography with the Prince of Wales in Farm Street church. Photo: Ruth Gledhill

During the visit, Prince Charles met Dr Bradley’s granddaughter Jamie, aged 4, who is already learning basic iconography skills such as how to gild. Jamie contributed to painting the gold cuffs of two archangels in the exhibition, using shell gold. He met her husband Dr Jerry Bradley and their children.

He also met some of Dr Bradley’s students from The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, where she is a visiting tutor for the MA programme, and some of their works are exhibited in the exhibition. In addition, he spoke to Serbian Orthodox priest Fr Stefan Ponjarac along with Farm Street parishioners, volunteers and people from the Church’s homeless service who have been supported. Yasko Kurahachi, president of Farm Street’s St Vincent de Paul Society who recently won a community award for her work helping homeless people, was among those present.

Fr Dominic Robinson, parish priest, said: “The visit showed how close to the heart of the Prince of Wales is the use of art to make spiritual connections.”

One of Dr Irina Bradley’s icons in the exhibition. Photo: Ruth Gledhill.

There are more than 70 icons in the exhibition, which is in the London Jesuit Centre and extends into the church next door. It includes a new icon of St Magnus the Martyr and the triptych of Archangel Michael, Our Lady of Tenderness and the Archangel Gabriel previously on view at Buckingham Palace. Proceeds from sales of the icons at the exhibition will be going to Aid to the Church in Need.

The Prince’s school exists to further traditional arts and skills and outreach projects are run in more than 20 countries. A “Harmony” programme is also run for primary schools, aimed at giving young people a “more holistic” view of the world. 

Farm Street is one of the most stunningly beautiful churches in London. The Prince of Wales here at the end of his visit, in the nave with parish priest Father Dominic Robinson. Photo: Ruth Gledhill


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