Helen Dejean
British iconographer, teacher and art history lecturer

Looking forward

After nearly forty years working with icons across different sectors of the art world and having undertaken numerous commissions worldwide, I still paint icons however my academic career has developed and is now focused more on art historical research and lecturing.

As an accredited lecturer with the Arts Society, I have been regularly lecturing on Byzantine and Trecento art to its membership bodies across the UK for several years, as well as for other Arts & Culture groups and Heritage Lottery funded projects.

In addition to reading for a part-time PhD in Byzantine art history at the Courtauld Institute, London I have recently been appointed as an associate lecturer for the Courtauld’s short courses programme – and also to City Lit, as an art history tutor.

To date, I have successfully provided quality courses in some amazing locations and was the first to deliver site-specific courses in situ at St Catherine’s Monastery in the Southern Sinai (from 2009) and in Assisi, Italy (from 2012). I am now teaching icon painting courses closer to home in West London and am delighted to be working with the Landmark Arts Centre, Teddington to provide weekly in-person classes after Easter 2024. (Booking will be through the Landmark’s website in due course.) As always, my teaching will combine art history with practice to provide a contextualised and informed grounding.

In 2020, I launched ‘Icon Adventures Online’, which form time-to-time offers tuition via video and zoom seminar platforms that enable wider participation and affordable learning.

Whilst I have had a formation in both the RC and Orthodox churches, my approach to teaching and art practice is entirely independent of any Christian confession or organisation and I am entirely inclusive in my approach.

Our Lady of Lewisham
Our Lady of Lewisham

Looking back
My previous commissions outside the UK have included work for the Venerable English College, Rome; New Brunswick Cathedral, Canada and churches in America, Australia and Europe.

Westminster Abbey

In the UK, I have been commissioned by the Cathedrals at Bristol and Chelmsford, Wymondham Abbey, the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, The Turf Club, Pall Mall, St Mary’s Church at Harrow on the Hill; St Bede’s Rotherham; Holy Trinity Church at Cuckfield; All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak; the Oratory of Cardiff University Chaplaincy; St Luke’s Church, Woodside; several chapels of the Woodard School Corporation plus many parish churches up and down the country.

In addition, I have produced many privately commissioned icons for individuals worldwide and increasingly undertake clerical portraiture, often of some very eminent individuals.

In terms of my art practice, I have painted in tempera since childhood and have developed my practice with the generous help of iconographers, mentors and experts from the Russian Orthodox tradition (notably the UKs first contemporary icon painters from St Seraphim’s Brotherhood, Walsingham). I have undertaken field and site research at St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai; Rome, Siena, Assisi, Istanbul and Moscow. Moreover, 9 years of examining and cataloguing icons in the Russian auction industry has given me first hand experience of the ‘real thing’.

Courtauld Institute of Art, History of Art MA 2023 ‘Byzantium and its Rivals’
Courtauld Institute of Art, History of Art MA 2007 ‘Sienese Painting 1250-1350’
Open University, BA Hons 2006 ‘History of Art & Humanities’
City & Guilds Adult Teacher Training (1989)
Digswell Arts Trust, Fine Art & Ceramics Fellowship (1983)
St Alban’s College of Art & Design, Fine Art diploma (1982).

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