Stephen Farthing, The Miracle Paintings at Salisbury Cathedral

23 August - 23 October 2018

We are delighted to announce that Stephen Farthing RA will be exhibiting The Miracle Paintings at Salisbury Cathedral from 23rd August to 23rd October. 

Farthing’s masterpieces will go on display in Salisbury Cathedral this Autumn, as part of Royal Academy 250, a celebration of the founding of the Royal Academy in 1768. The exhibition is curated by Salisbury Cathedral Visual Arts Advisor Jacquiline Creswell. 


“Stephen wants the paintings to be shown together in a context where faith may be celebrated,” says Jacquiline. “Every day we take for granted all that is miraculous around us, from music to sight, from breathing to birth. He takes those seemingly everyday miracles and captures the mystical energy that that lies behind them. These paintings have never been seen before as Stephen wished for them to be shown together in a context where these concepts may be realised, a space where faith may be celebrated.”


The series took Farthing seven years to complete, each painting exploring an ordinary event or activity transformed into something mystical, from the miracle of the word that becomes a book transformed in turn by faith, to notes that are transformed into music and again realised by the listener. 

“My starting point for this series of paintings was the story of a miracle that was told to me by a Coptic Bishop in Cairo in 2011. During the three or four hours I passed with him, he filled my head with a set of images of, and stories about, miraculous events. Over the past seven years I have attempted to make sense of these stories by painting them, not by re-telling already familiar stories, but by seeking to generate a set of paintings that were in themselves miraculous. 


With the concepts of illusion, faith, magic and the miraculous in mind, and with the decision made before I had started that I would only show the paintings once the series was complete – I started work. Each painting was an attempt at explaining the unexplainable.  Each aimed to encourage reflective thought and  a sense of wonder.”