An exhibition in Monkwearmouth marks the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to Durham. Katy Wheeler finds out more
A kaleidoscope of images showcase the work of artists who’ve been inspired by manuscripts and religious themes.
Among the works on display at the Bede Bakehouse Gallery in St Peter’s Church are those by professional artists, such as international rug maker Heather Ritchie, calligraphy by Susan Moor and other Northumbrian Scribes and drawings and paintings by students from St Aidan’s School.
Gallery curator Ian Potts says St Peter’s is the perfect venue for a display inspired by the Lindisfarne Gospels, which went on show in Durham this month.
He said: “The really fascinating revelation is that the example text used for the Lindisfarne Gospels is believed to have originated from the Wearmouth- Jarrow monastery, so we can lay claim to being instrumental with the production of two of the world’s finest books.”
During The Venerable Bede’s lifetime, the monastery at Monkwearmouth was home to one of the best libraries in Medieval Europe with a dedicated group of scribes.
Ian said: “Bede’s reputation was such that we can assume that he may have assisted with the text from which the Lindisfarne Gospels were copied from.”
To commemorate the return of the Gospels to their native North East, Ian has produced a painting which illustrates the link between Wearmouth and the Lindisfarne Gospels.
Using, as a starting point, drawings of the ancient carvings from around the Saxon Arch at Monkwearmouth, which date back to 674 AD, he has morphed these carvings into a cat which is hidden in the Lindisfarne text.
Ian has invited Heather Ritchie, an internationally-renowned rug maker, to co-ordinate the making of a special rug taken from his original painting, Traces of Wearmouth.
Heather will run two workshops for beginner/intermediate rug makers on Thursday, August 1 and Friday, August 2, to teach the skills of hooking proggy and hooky mats.
Ian and Heather are also appealing for any intermediate/experienced rug makers to come along to help work on the giant rug, which Heather says would take her up to a year to make without help.
The rug will remain at the church throughout the summer, so volunteers can help hook the mat most days from 10.30am until 2.30pm.
All the helpers will be encouraged to weave their name into the rug, which will then take its place in the Inspired by the Gospels exhibition at Bede’s Bakehouse gallery.
* For more information on the display or volunteering with the rug making email Ian, at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring Bede’s Bakehouse on Tel. 564 0431.
* To confirm a place on one of Heather’s workshops, priced £10, on August 1 or 2 contact Heather on Tel. 01748 884435.