The Painted WordThe Painted Word by John Reilly

Some plates from the book are reproduced at the end of this review.

If you like creative imagery then this is an absolute gem of a book to own.

John Reilly has four paintings in the Methodist Collection of Modern Art, and it was largely due to those paintings that I wanted to lead workshops to introduce others to all the wonderful work in the collection and how it could be used to enhance worship and prayer.

The Painted Word by John Reilly is a collection of 50 colour plates showing John's paintings. It is a breathtaking experience to look through this art that is bursting with light and life, with page after page of inspirational work, covering a huge array of bible stories and events.

This book is not just images, John has placed passages from the Authorized Version of the Bible alongside each painting; passages which inspired him. The paintings themselves leap from the page in jewelled colours, vibrant imagery, each one reaching out to give a new insight into a part of the bible.

The book doesn't end with paintings and bible passages however, as it includes more images and some explanatory text into John's technique and method of painting. There is also an interesting section on Tradition and Innovation in Contemporary Art by Emma Spencer BA which compares John's work with other religious painting through history.

This is not just a coffee table book, though you will want to leave it out to show your friends and encourage them to buy it. I am almost speechless at the beauty in this book. John Reilly - a truly visionary artist. Sadly John passed away in February 2010 and I am sad that I never got to meet him and tell him how much I enjoy his work; we have lost a great artist.

The Painted Word, published 2008, can be purchased from the John Reilly Gallery – contact the gallery by email at customercare@thejohnreillygallery.co.uk.

Review by Jacqui Hicks


There is a semi-permanent exhibition of John Reilly's paintings at Gaunts House near Wimborne, Dorset. This is a stately home converted to a Conference and Studies Centre. Refuge and Green Pastures are on display along with 25 other paintings. You are assured of a warm welcome but please telephone first to make sure the rooms are not being used (tel 01202 841522).

The painting The Way of Gethesemane is on display at Eastbourne General Hospital near the Chapel and the Chaplain's office.


The Way


Green Pastures


Refuge