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24 September 2014

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You are in: Bristol > Faith > Features > One Man's Journey to Heaven

Part of one of the panels

The St Matthew Passion inspired the art

One Man's Journey to Heaven

Stunning pieces of needlework and calligraphy depicting the Gospels have been bought by Bath Abbey - and go on show there this Autumn.

One Man’s Journey to Heaven is a unique work by Peasedown St John-based artist Sue Symons.

Sue was inspired by Bach's St Matthew Passion to create the artwork which depicts the life of Christ in 70 images grouped together in pairs or ‘diptychs’.

She embarked on the panels in 2005 as a retirement project which combines her two artistic passions: textiles and lettering.

Each of the 35 diptychs includes a text from the Gospels in beautifully decorated calligraphy, alongside a panel of needlework that offers a personal interpretation of each step in the story.

“The sheer beauty and invention of the diptychs is stunning”, said Alan Garrow, Vicar Theologian at the abbey.

Panel from One Man's Journey to Heaven

The exhibition will tour local venues

“It represents an inspired marriage of the ancient skills of calligraphy and illumination with all the freshness of a contemporary interpretation of the life of Christ.”


They will be displayed at the abbey from 18 October to 25 November, 2007. Please check the abbey website or call or call 01225 422 462 for opening times, which vary.

There’s also the opportunity to hear from artist Sue Symons at an ‘in conversation with the artist’ session on Saturday, October 20 from 7.30-8.30pm at the abbey.

In this illustrated conversation, Sue will describe the stages of concept, design and execution of her art.

The diptychs are also being published in an A4 book during October.

On tour

As well as going on show at the abbey, the diptychs are touring other venues in the region.

They are at Wells Cathedral Chapterhouse until 15 October, 2007 and you can see them at Downside Abbey, Stratton-on-the-Fosse from 5 December 2007 to 8 January 2008.

Other venues interested in displaying the diptychs can apply to the abbey via email:

last updated: 24/10/07

You are in: Bristol > Faith > Features > One Man's Journey to Heaven

Diane Louise Jordan


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