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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 October 2005, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Artist in church to produce icon
John Coleman at work
The work will be displayed at the church at St Endellion
A South West-based iconographer has been commissioned to produce an icon of a female Cornish saint.

But John Coleman has a tricky job ahead of him as no one knows what Saint Endelienta actually looked like.

He will spend a week at the church at St Endellion in October creating the icon and says he will gain inspiration from prayer and meditation.

The finished work will be on display in the church, where Saint Endelienta's altar tomb is.

'A lovely experience'

She was believed to have been one of the daughters of a Sixth Century Welsh prince, Brychan.

She and her sisters have many Cornish churches dedicated to them including St Minver, St Teath, and St Mabyn.

Legend has it that her sole subsistence was the milk of a cow which was killed by the Lord of Trentinney, when it strayed.

He was then said to have been killed by her godfather, reputed to be King Arthur.

John Coleman follows the ancient rules of producing icons as closely as possible.

"I use only methods and materials that were available centuries ago," he said.

"Seasoned wood panels are primed with gesso with sometimes a canvas sheet to help cover any joins."

He mixes natural pigments with egg yolk and water, the yolk acting as emulsion making the paint waterproof and permanent.

"Being in such a rural place with local people coming in is something I've not done before, it's a lovely experience," he said.

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