I C O N – The story behind the art

I C O N 

As our group show opens on 17th November, we’re excited to show you the breadth of work that has been submitted on this theme by our stable of Cotswold artists.

Each artwork has its own narrative around what it means to be ‘iconic’ – whether that’s a public figure, place, cultural reference or movement.

Our opening private viewing is in conjunction with the Gallery at the Guild who will also be opening their exhibition Reflection. We hope you’ll be able to pop into both exhibitions during the course of the evening. Huxley’s (opposite the gallery) are offering a special Art Menu on the night. There is an early sitting from 5.30pm – 7pm and 7.30 – 9.30pm. The Art Menu appears at the bottom of this blog.

All the works for sale at Art Cotswold from 17th November until 16th December – please visit us at 6 High Street, Chipping Campden GL55 6AT.

Jayne Tricker

Cherished, Joy in Marks Made, Supported, Celebrated, Freedom, In Grace

“This collection of black raku clay bowls, hand-built and barrel fired over the Summer Solstice was inspired by the iconic female, intuitive artists of the early 1900’s. Emma Kunz, Georgiana Houghton and Hilma Klimt were innovators and frontrunners in their field, paving the way for creatives like myself. They used variations of circles in their work and it’s a motif that I use to adorn my vessels, often in gilt, to symbolise unity.

Using their strength and originality, my intention when creating these bowls was to release all the patterns that don’t serve us anymore, clearing the path for new and positive adventures.

This collection is an exploration in the contrast between deep personal shadows and celebrating moments of joy and bliss. As a spiritual artist, I work in tune with the lunar cycle and adorn my vessels with script and symbols.”

Joy in Marks Made by Jayne Tricker

Gabrielle Moulding

Mono no aware – Sakura tree tripytch and Mono no aware – under the sakura

“During my time living in Tokyo, I celebrated the ‘Sakura’ and took part in ‘hanami’ – the celebration of cherry blossom season which lasted no more than a week. I learnt that ‘mono no aware’ is a Japanese philosophy of the transience of beauty, deeply rooted in their culture.

Motoori Noringa’s said, ‘To know ‘mono no aware’ is to discern the power and essence, not just of the moon and the cherry blossoms, but of every single thing existing in this world, and to be deeply stirred by each of them.’

My paintings encapsulate the cherry blossom as a devotional icon in itself (in the tradition of Shintoism) encased within antique gold frames sourced from Italy and Spain. Historically this type of frame would hold a religious painting depicting another kind of icon and revered as a holy object.”

Mono no aware Sakura Tree Triptych by Gabrielle Moulding for Art Cotswold

Filippa Whitford

Allegrante 1 and Allegrante 2

“Paintings are a strange thing when they reflect a time, a feeling, a mood. Allegrante (meaning cheerful) 1 & 2 evoke feelings of contentment during the Covid crisis, a conflicting emotion when everything around us seemed to be failing. The colours represent a happiness and sense of optimisim, a light at the end of a dark tunnel.”

Allegrante 2 by Filippa Whitford for Art Cotswold

Ian Thompson

The Towering Moon

“It took me a while to figure out an iconic image of the Cotswolds that had not been taken before. Let’s face it, there are so many images of the Cotswold out there and I wanted to produce something more original. On my way home from the gallery one day, I stopped off at Broadway Tower to see if I could derive some inspiration from it. With the shots I had taken, I returned to the studio and starting playing around with night and day. I had in my ‘toolbox’ an image of a full moon so I incorporated that, added a few wisps of cloud and ‘The Towering Moon’ was born.”

The Towering Moon by Ian Thompson Photography

Rod Nelson

Paper – Ink – Mind

“Paper – Ink – Mind is based on the story of Dogen, one of the key figures in Zen. He asked a student of his, who was looking at a flag fluttering int he breeze, what was moving. The student replied, ‘The flag is moving. The wind is moving.’ Dogen replied ‘The mind is moving.’ It reflects for me, the love I have of precision. My work resonates with my love of zazen and my studies into the nature of the mind and ways of being objective about one’s own subjectivity, even if rather haphazardly.”

Paper Ink Mind by Rod Nelson for Art Cotswold

Kim Jarvis

Catherine Ellen, Harriet, Purton Hulks, The Severn Collier 

‘The Purton Hulks’ is the largest ship graveyard in mainland Britain. It is formed by a number of abandoned ships, deliberately beached beside the River Severn near Purton in Gloucestershire to reinforce the river banks. In 1909, when the riverbank collapsed between the River Severn and Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, old and historic vessels including steel barges, trows and concrete ships were run aground, filling with water and silt to create a tidal erosion barrier.

I grew up in the Severn Vale and have a lifelong interest in the history and landscape of the River Severn. The Purton Hulks are incredibly strong visually and their various states of decay attract the eye as modern sculptures. The interesting history of each vessel (one is now understood to be an ancient monument and another took part in the Irish War of Independence in 1921) inspired several visits to capture the strange and exciting mood of the place.”

The Severn Collier by Kim Jarvis for Art Cotswold

Miranda Carter


‘Quercus’ or the Royal Oak is a truly iconic tree as it is a descendent of the oak tree that the future King Charles II of England hid in to escape the Roundheads following the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

At 110 x 111cm it’s a large painting in acrylic and mixed media on canvas.

Quercus by Miranda Carter

Rachel McDonnell

To Another Valley and Winter Light, Winter Shadows 

In pondering what to paint for Icon, having thought myself round in several large circles, I eventually I found my thoughts turning to the stunning landscapes in which we Cotswold dwellers are lucky enough to live.  These two small paintings aim to convey something of the special nature of the river valleys carved out of the escarpment, creating the character of the place we inhabit by providing power for the woollen mills which sprung up in the area some hundreds of years ago, and which eventually fell into decline as more powerful mills were built further north.  A culture of small industry and creativity in a stunning landscape remained, however, sculpting the places we now know, and perhaps making it only natural that so many of the people of the Cotswolds care so deeply for their environment.

With these two paintings, I hope to convey the exceptional beauty of our iconic Cotswold landscape, which so many people across the world think of as an English archetype.  They are also meant to reflect the love that so many of us have for this landscape, and remind the viewer how lucky we are to live in this green and pleasant place.  Perhaps they might also make people think about what we all need to do to help the Cotswolds (and indeed the rest of the world) remain so lovely.

Winter Light, Winter Shadows by Rachel McDonnell

Jo Cohn

Blue Moon, Midas Remorse and the A – Z of Icons 

Jo is currently studying for a Masters Degree at Central Saint Martins and has access to their printmaking facilities. She has responded to our Icon theme by producing three really interesting pieces of work on the subject as follows:

Blue Moon (bright ultramarine) and Quiet Moon (dark ultramarine) are aquatints, size 83cm x 63cm and are available in editions of 20. See them here. They are priced at £475 framed.

The A – Z of Icons is an etching of individual letters which make up an ‘iconic alphabet’ …. for grown ups! It’s a lovely piece which measures 83cm x 63cm and costs £750 framed. See it here.

Midas’ Remorse (see below)

Named after King Midas, who made a wish that everything he touched would turn to gold, until he realised with horror his greed for riches was a curse, not a blessing. When King Midas touched a rose or fountain and it turned to gold he was delighted. But when he touched it food, it turned to gold and when he touched his daughter to embrace her, she too turned to gold.

Human greed is taking a heavy toll on our planet. We continue to plunder the earth’s finite resources. Like Midas, we are aware of the catastrophic consquences of our actions and yet it is only as we see the consequences that we can fully comprehend them. We are starting to realise the consquence of our desires. Now we are equipped with knowledge, it is  possible to start to try to reverse some of the destruction with positive action and engagement.

The purpose of these works is to invite the viewer to connect with the Earth and our environment, and take a moment to consider our place and relationship to the Earth at this moment in time.

Midas Remorse by Jo Cohn for Art Cotswold

Rebecca Morris

Unsettled Skies Along the Cotswold Way 

The Cotswold Way is a long-distance walking trail that runs between the market town of Chipping Campden in the north and the city of Bath in the south. The trail is 102 miles long and runs for most of its length on the Cotswold escarpment. The highest point of the walk takes you across Cleeve Common, from where you get wonderful views over Cheltenham, the Vale of Evesham, the Malverns and as far as the Black Mountains in Wales and the Shropshire hills. Just below you as you cross the common is a handful of white cottages that dot the hillside. These are the houses you can just see peeping through the haze of the painting, beneath a spectacular sky.

Unsettled Skies on the Cotswold Way by Rebecca Morris for Art Cotswold

Jeremy Houghton

State Opening of Parliament

Painted for the Platinum Jubilee, this painting shows the Queen in a solitary moment with the weight of majesty on her shoulders – a true icon in our lifetime.

State opening of parliament by Jeremy Houghton

Art Menu at Huxley’s

Huxley's Art Menu