Shropshire Star

Shropshire artist trio's 'great honour' of designing King's Coronation screen

A special screen commissioned by King Charles III for the most sacred part of his coronation next week has been designed by a proud Shropshire artist with the help of two other artists in the county.

Shrewsbury iconographer Aidan Hart with the screen he has designed for King Charles III

On May 6, His Majesty will be surrounded on three sides by an embroidered anointing screen, which will hide the king from the congregation inside Westminster Abbey during the most personal moment of the ceremony.

It has been created by a team of more than 150 people over the past few months to a Commonwealth-themed design by Shrewsbury-based iconographer, Aidan Hart.

Mr Hart, who has lived in Shrewsbury for the last 30 years, said it was "a great honour" to have been chosen to create the only new piece of work commissioned for the coronation.

He said: "I work in primarily church art where I do icons and frescos as well as sculptures.

"The Prince of Wales has commissioned a lot of things over the last few years from me, including a sculpture of the Queen Consort, so we do know each other, but on November 30 I got a phone call from Sir Clive Alderton, the King's private secretary, who said if I could possibly design the three screens that will be put around him during the anointing at the coronation."

Aidan Hart with the screen with embroiderers Anne Butcher and Gemma Murray

The 65-year-old artist, who is originally from New Zealand, said he is not the only Shropshire-based artist to work on the 7ft screen.

"When the Queen was anointed she did it under a canopy that was embroidered with eagles so I wanted to add some eagles to the screen."

Due to his links in the county, he asked sculptor Tim Royall of Memorial Arts in Jackfield, Ironbridge, to design two eagles to sit on top of the wooden poles of the frame holding the screen, and these were cast into bronze by Paul Kennedy, based at Acton Round, Bridgnorth.

"This screen is the only new physical thing so to have three people from Shropshire involved in it is a great honour," added Mr Hart.

He said he was asked by the King to take overall inspiration for the screen from the Golden Jubilee stained glass window at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, which depicts the “family of nations” as a thriving tree.

Mr Hart said: “The inspiration of the Chapel Royal stained-glass window was personally requested by His Majesty the King.

“Each and every element of the design has been specifically chosen to symbolise aspects of this historic coronation and the Commonwealth, from the birds that symbolise the joy and interaction among members of a community living in harmony, to the rejoicing angels and the dove that represents the Holy Spirit.”