Two More Neo Coptic Icons by Dr Stephane Rene

29 01 2011

Further to the recent posting about a Coptic style Stella Maris icon, here are two more icons by Dr Stephane Rene in his ‘neo-Coptic’ style. They were sent to me by two people who read the previous article. St Joseph of the House of David and Mary Mother of the City are in St Joseph’s Catholic church, in Bunhill Row in the City of London. I remember this Church because it is just around the corner from the offices of the Catholic Herald, where I once worked. They come courtesy of a reader who brought them to my notice. So if you’re reading thank you Martin Pendergast, and to you Sr Jean for supplying the images.

The name derives from the fact that St Joseph, although poor was of the Royal House of David. There are four narrative scenes from the gospel in each corner. The one of the Holy Family in a boat is depicting them on the Nile – representing the period of exile. Notice also the beautiful patterned border that Dr Rene has designed.


In this huge icon (3 metres x 2 metres). Mary is shown coming from an enclosed garden (a reference to the sybolism in the Song of Songs). The peacock is a traditional symbol of eternal life. The stream flowing from a cave represents the womb from which Christ emerged to live among us and give us the living water.



4 responses

29 01 2011
Anne Harriss

I just love those icons, especially the one about St Joseph. I’ll look it up next time I’m in London. Thanks for all this!

29 01 2011

That’s quick work – it only went up a few minutes ago! I’m pleased that you like them. I haven’t seen them in situ myself, so will make an effort to get to the church in Bunhill Row next time I am in London too! David

29 01 2011
Gilou Bauer

Are you Stephane Rene who came to Jamaica for an exhibition in the 1990s? I am trying to get in touch with you regarding your work.
Thanks for your reply

29 01 2011

Hi Gilou, I am not – I wrote the article, but I didn’t paint the icons! Dr Rene lives and works in London, but my guess is that there won’t be two Stephane Renes doing icons like this. He can be contacted through the Prince’s School for Traditional Arts in Shoreditch, London. The website is Good luck. David

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