Introduction to Byzantine Icon Painting

Introduction to Byzantine Icon Painting

Join us this summer for this introduction to Byzantine Icon painting workshop

Taking place in the serene and peaceful Cathedral retrochoir which dates back to the 13th century, this course provides an introduction to all aspects of traditional Byzantine icon painting. The aim is to understand the history and meaning of icons and to gain the skills to be able to draw and paint them.

During this course students will paint a close up image of Christ, based on the 13th century famous icon from Mount Athos

Students will be given a step-by-step guidance through the various disciplines of this ancient tradition. This will include: drawing from the original image or the ready made line drawing, the use of compass, the use of clay and gold leaf for gilding the halo, learning to understand the symbolism and harmonious use of colours, and painting with egg tempera and earth and semi-precious pigments.

Students will also learn to understand the meaning of icons and brief history of them.

The gessoed icon boards, gold and main materials are provided, but if students have their own pigments, watercolour brushes and materials, please bring them along.

Hannah-Leena Ward

Hanna is a Diploma Iconographer. She has researched and studied iconography and Orthodox Church painting under several masters from Greece, Russia, Romania, Finland and UK.

Hannah has a Masters Degree in Sacred Traditional Arts from Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, London and she has finished the four year diploma studies in iconography and wall painting under iconographer Aidan Hart in Prince’s School’s Liturgical Arts Program.

Hanna is especially interested in Church wall painting and has been to Romania to research fresco painting under Church painter Adrian Iurco. Hanna has also assisted Aidan with the fresco of the Transfiguration at Leeds.

Hanna has also researched sacred geometry and underlying symbolism in Church architecture as she is an interior designer and has spent her working life in architectural design and drafting. Hanna has painted and taught traditional Folk Art for many years which has given her strong technical skills and foundation for mastering complex icon and wall painting, which is now her calling and passion. Hanna believes that when creating contemporary icons it is important to obey liturgical principles, whilst allowing creativity, in order to uphold this very special image of prayer.

Hanna teaches icon painting and works for commissions.

Further Information

This course is for five days Monday to Friday between 10.00am - 5.00pm and there will be a 45 minute lunch break. Please note that lunch is not provided so you should bring your own or use the number of options available within the local area.

Please bring along the following equipment with you;

• Clutch pencil with eraser

• 30 cm ruler

• Good quality compass

• A palette

• Note book

All other equipment such as paints and high quality brushes will be provided .

At the end of the course, your icon will be blessed by a member of clergy from Southwark Cathedral.

Keeping you safe

We are limiting this course to a maximum eight participants only and will adhere to social distancing at all times. Students will be spaced apart appropriately and members of the public will not be able to access the retrochoir whilst the course is taking place. Disinfectant will be available for students to wipe down their surfaces and an enhanced cleaning procedure will be in place. Hand sanitiser and hand washing facilities will be freely available across the Cathedral.

Some PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as disposable gloves and masks will also be available to use though we do encourage you to bring your own reusable mask if you have one.

To attend this course we will require you to fill in and return a self-declaration health form at least 24 before the event date. We will process this information in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

In the light of revised guidance from the Church of England it is strongly advised to wear a face covering in a public space such as a place of worship. From Sunday 2 August we are encouraging visitors and members of the congregation and visitors to wear a face covering unless for some reason they are unable to do so.

A full refund will be made should this event need to be cancelled.

If you have any questions about this event please contact Jon Dollin at