‘St Ethelflaeda’ by Chris Gollon installed permanently in Romsey Abbey

ROMSEY ABBEY, Church Lane, ROMSEY, Hampshire. SO51 8EP 

As his national touring exhibition to cathedrals also travelled to Romsey Abbey in autumn 2016, Chris Gollon was taken both by the Abbey and the history of its famous abbess, St Ethelflaeda. He painted–as a site-specific work for two stone recesses–this dramatic diptych of St Ethelflaeda, Abbess of Romsey at the time of the first millennium. Gollon’s diptych looks at the legend recounted of St Ethelflaeda, the moment her candle blows out and she is able to continue reading the Bible only by the Divine light emanating from her hand. The diptych subtly gives the impression of St Ethelflaeda re-entering the Abbey, imbued with light. In 2018, it has now been purchased by Romsey Abbey, where it hangs permanently for the public and congregation to enjoy. A full-colour catalogue fine art catalogue featuring the diptych and Chris Gollon’s studies for the final work, along with texts by leading writers including Sara Maitland, is available from the Abbey shop.  “I’ve really come to love Chris Gollon’s work and the expressive ways that he represents the human form with exaggeration creating a greater realism”, The Very Revd Catherine Ogle, Dean of Winchester. 

Open Mon – Sat 07.30am – 6pm, Sun 11-6pm. Free entry.

Fourteen Stations of the Cross

Chris Gollon’s fourteen paintings of the Stations of the Cross are permanently installed in the Church of St John on Bethnal Green, which is a beautiful grade-one listed church designed by Sir John Soane, in east London and located next to the Museum of Childhood. It is open to visitors Sat 10-1pm, or during services. To read more about the story of this unusual major commission, see images or read press reviews, click: Stations of the Cross.

A Unique Collaboration: Chris Gollon & Yi Yao

In summer 2013 a very unique collaboration was begun between Yi Yao, the acclaimed virtuoso Chinese classical accordionist and composer and established British painter Chris Gollon. The outcome was an extraordnary work of art and music entitled ‘And It Came To Pass’.  In his early sixties, Chris Gollon is at the very height of his powers and enjoyed embarking on this fascinating artistsic collaboration with Yi Yao . She is an acclaimed classical accordionist and composer, with a Grammy nomination for her virtuoso work with Jose Serebrier.

Neither Yao nor Gollon knew where exactly the collaboration would go, which makes it doubly exciting, with one discipline inspiring or influencing the other. It was also an in-depth look at the relationship between colour and music. Chris Gollon has painted a work with a huge sweep of humanity in it, encompassing the seven ages of Man, which is 41ft long in nine panels. He painted a panel, showed it to Yi, and she then composed a piece of music inspired by it, which she then played and recorded for Chris. He played it in his studio incessantly and responded in paint by trying to give in a painted image the same emotions (and colours) to the viewer as the music gives, and then moves us again seamlessly in a new direction.  The panel he paints he then showed to Yi to inspire the next piece of music. This two-way traffic of musical and artistic inspiration occurred nine times, and the intellectual conversations Yi and Chris had were fascinating, as they discussed in depth and worked with subjects like synesthesia and the colour of sound. ‘And It Came To Pass’ was premiered at the prestigious Henley Festival 2014.  An interview touching on ‘And It Came To Pass’ with novelist Will Self and Chris Gollon is here: Gramophone.


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