'Ichthys' font

Font and Plinth
2004-2005 (made)
'Ichthys' font thumbnail 1
'Ichthys' font thumbnail 2
+3
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This font by Colin Reid formerly served as the prize for an awards scheme for an Artwork in Ecclesiastical Space that the Art and Christianity Enquiry Trust (ACE) initiated in 2003. Another prize for the awards scheme for Religious Architecture, in the form of stained glass panels by Graham Jones, is displayed at the far end of the V&A's Sacred Silver and Stained Glass gallery. ACE promotes understanding of the links between religion and the visual arts. Together, the prizes celebrated contemporary artistic achievement in religious settings.

The design of the font recalls the Greek word for fish, ichthys, whose letters represent the words for ‘Jesus Christ God’s Son Saviour’. The early Christians used the fish image to communicate their baptismal creed. It appears in the 1st-century catacombs in Rome and still has a special significance for many Christians today.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Font
  • Plinth
Materials and Techniques
Optical glass, cast and polished; wood (oak)
Brief Description
Cast and polished optical glass font with fish inclusions, Colin Reid, 2004-05 and blackened oak plinth, Jim Partridge, 2004-05.
Physical Description
Baptismal font of optical glass with fish forms embedded in the glass; blackened oak plinth.
Dimensions
  • Height: 15cm
  • Width: 50cm
  • Depth: 50cm
  • Overall glass font on wood plinth at rear height: 100cm
  • Overall glass font on wood plinth taken at front height: 90.5cm
  • Glass only weight: 60kg (taken from previous condition reports)
  • Greatest, font on plinth width: 53.7cm
  • Greatest, font on plinth depth: 53.7cm
  • Plinth height: 82cm
  • Plinth width: 36.5cm
  • Plinth depth: 36.5cm
Copy Number
unique
Gallery Label
  • Icthys’ Font The design of this font recalls the Greek word for fish, icthys, whose letters represent the words for ‘Jesus Christ God’s Son Saviour’. The early Christians used the fish image to communicate their baptismal creed. It appears in the 1st-century catacombs in Rome and still has a special significance for many Christians today. The font by Colin Reid and oak plinth by Jim Partridge were commissioned by the donor to serve as a prize under the V&A/Art and Christianity Enquiry Trust (ACE) collaborative award scheme (2005–2016) for the ACE Award for Art in a Religious Context. ACE promotes understanding of the links between religion and the visual arts. London, England, 2004–05; the glass by Colin Reid (born 1953); the plinth by Jim Partridge (born 1953) Cast and polished optical glass; blackened oak Museum nos. C.409:1, 2-2017 Given by Reverend Richard McLaren in memory of his great-great-aunt, Gertrude Jekyll(18/08/2017)
  • ‘Ichthys’ Font This font by Colin Reid is the prize for a biennial awards scheme for Art in a Religious Context, initiated by the Art and Christianity Enquiry Trust (ACE) in 2003. Another prize for Religious Architecture, in the form of a stained glass panel by Graham Jones, is also displayed in the V&A’s gallery of Sacred Silver and Stained Glass. ACE promotes understanding of the links between religion and the visual arts. Together, the prizes celebrate contemporary artistic achievement in religious settings. They are shown in the V&A, but loaned for temporary display in the award winners’ own sacred space every two years. The design of the font recalls the Greek word for fish, 'icthys', whose letters represent the words for ‘Jesus Christ God’s Son Saviour’. The early Christians used the fish image to communicate their baptismal creed. It appears in the 1st-century catacombs in Rome and is still a potent sign of Christian faith today. London, England, 2004–5; the glass by Colin Reid (born 1953); the plinth by Jim Partridge (born 1953) Optical glass and blackened oak On loan from the Art and Christianity Enquiry Trust; commissioned for the ACE award for an Artwork in Ecclesiastical Space(22/11/2005)
Credit line
Given by Revd. Richard McLaren in memory of his great-great-aunt, Gertrude Jekyll
Object history
This font was commissioned by the Art and Christianity Enquiry Trust as the prize for an awards scheme for Art in a Religious Context that they initiated in 2003. It sits on a plinth designed by Jim Partridge.



Historical significance: The design of the font recalls the Greek word for fish,' ichthys', whose letters represent the words for 'Jesus Christ God's Son Saviour'. The early Christians used the fish image to communicate their baptismal creed. It appears in the 1st-century catacombs in Rome and is still a potent sign of Christian faith today.



The donor, former Chair of the Art and Christianity Enquiry Trust, is great-great-nephew of the famous garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932). Though he never knew her, he wanted to dedicate his gift to her memory. In 1861, Jekyll, a keen painter, began studies at the Normal Training School of Art, South Kensington. This was the precursor of today's Royal College of Art and as such, inextricably linked to the history of the V&A. She was interested in the science of colour and optics and carried this through to her garden designing later on. She attended lectures at the School of Art by John Ruskin, William Morris, Richard Dresser and Richard Redgrave.
Historical context
Colin Reid wrote in 2004: 'If I were to identify a single thread that runs through my work it would be the influence of nature. My current interest is in natural materials that have been worked by craftsmen's hands in the past and are eroding and reverting to nature. The medieval stone carving high on Gloucester Cathedral is being restored and the stone-masons have erected scaffolding giving access to normally inaccessible stonework. This I have cast and used as the starting point for new works'.

Summary
This font by Colin Reid formerly served as the prize for an awards scheme for an Artwork in Ecclesiastical Space that the Art and Christianity Enquiry Trust (ACE) initiated in 2003. Another prize for the awards scheme for Religious Architecture, in the form of stained glass panels by Graham Jones, is displayed at the far end of the V&A's Sacred Silver and Stained Glass gallery. ACE promotes understanding of the links between religion and the visual arts. Together, the prizes celebrated contemporary artistic achievement in religious settings.



The design of the font recalls the Greek word for fish, ichthys, whose letters represent the words for ‘Jesus Christ God’s Son Saviour’. The early Christians used the fish image to communicate their baptismal creed. It appears in the 1st-century catacombs in Rome and still has a special significance for many Christians today.
Bibliographic Reference
Clare Beck and Kathleen Slater (eds.), Colin Reid: glass sculpture, Farnham 2013, pp. 120-121, Ichthys illustrated, including silicone cast of fish used for this sculpture.
Collection
Accession Number
C.409:1, 2-2017

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record createdSeptember 27, 2005
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