Having discovered hidden treasurers among odd, quirky and sometimes trashed second-hand-casts-off, at our local Oxfam store, eg my Constable plate of Dedham Loch, I have started to visit the place most weeks, perchance to find a treasure; a treasure to me that is!

While perusing the shelves, before my grocery shop last Friday, I was again rewarded with a find that near put me into acute emotional ecstasy!!!

I have mention to you before, of my love for coffee table picture books. Well, I found a large beautiful soft-cover picture-book to further dress my coffee table. Box ticked

I know, ecstasy enough, right? But this find went further, I’m talking way, way further…

This book was called ICONS, by Gordana Babic, presenting sixty-four delightfully enthralling full colour plates between the covers.


I couldn’t get my hands on it fast enough, and while, somewhere in the remote corners of my mind, I wondered why no one else was hovering over me to steal it from my grasp, I paid the £3.99 and it was mine, all mine. Another box ticked

It was all I could do, to complete my grocery shop, get home, slip my shoes off, brew a pot of tea, tell my boys I do not want to be disturbed unless the house was alight and relax with a cuppa to read my new treasure.

Byzantine art is way-up-there in my art genre loves. I have always loved the school, even as a child. I think I was captured at an early age, by the rich warm autumnal colours, facial expressions tantalising the viewer with secrets held, features stoically noble and general mysteries held tightly.

I started to make a commitment of sorts, to Byzantine art while in Italy as a nineteen-year-old (over thirty years ago). Nothing flash, you understand, just a small tourist trinket. But of all the bibs and bobs that have come and gone in my life, that small piece of Italy has graced side tables, cabinets and now, my writing corner in the loft of our converted barn, in the rural belt of Auckland, New Zealand.


Look carefully, to the left of the black lamp, you’ll see a splash of iconic colours – that’s it.

Now living in England, I am turning my hand to up-cycling cabinets for the dining room with Byzantine influences (planned months ago). I have commissioned my husband to paint a large Byzantine replica on canvas (updates to come). So to find this book was perfect.

I love every colour plate, but have chosen three to share with you…


St George, by painter John. Tempera on wood. 145 x 86 cm. 1266-67 Yugoslavia.



The Archangel Michael. Tempera on wood with carved frame. 61 x 43 cm. 1742 Hungary.



The Archangel Michael, called the Great Taxiarch. Tempera on wood. 110 x 81.5 cm 1350-1360 Athens.

Aren’t they beautiful! They have much to say, way past the art techniques and media.

I’ll be back at the Oxfam store this Friday…Can’t wait!


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