Return of oil painting to its spiritual home over Easter

An oil painting of Holy Island, which was found by some to be holier than the artist had intended, will be back on display on the island over Easter.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 24th March 2016, 12:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th March 2016, 12:47 pm
Artist John Tierney on Holy Island.
Artist John Tierney on Holy Island.

As previously reported, Birmingham artist John Tierney opened his own gallery, Impressions of Holy Island, located opposite the Ship Inn, on Marygate, back in June 2014.

He had been coming to Holy Island every year for more than a decade and continued to be ‘so inspired that I just cannot stop painting the beauty and the atmosphere of the island’.

Heavenly Light, formerly Sun Bursting Through The Clouds, by John Tierney.

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But over the Easter weekend, one of his paintings, which has ‘totally taken us all by surprise with its sales’, will be back on display in the gallery.

Out of 130 different paintings, prints of what was originally called Sun Bursting Through The Clouds have far outsold any others, flying to all corners of the world.

John added: “Reactions from visitors to the gallery have been, amazingly, very emotional at times.”

The oil painting was sold at his first exhibition on the island in the summer of 2013 to a Reverend from Wolverhampton, who brought John’s attention to the angel’s wings towards the top of the canvas.

Heavenly Light, formerly Sun Bursting Through The Clouds, by John Tierney.

To her, it represented St Cuthbert’s vision of St Aidan’s spiritual light rising to the heavens and as she was the first person to see the painting, she renamed it Heavenly Light.

John said: “Since that time, visitors have spotted other things such as the cross, the steps to heaven and the three doves, signifying the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all of which were never intentionally included by me.

“I have recently managed to buy the painting back by which time it had moved to Lichfield Cathedral Mews with the owner of the painting.

“This took us by surprise yet again as St Chad, who was a pupil of St Aidan on Lindisfarne, was later given land by the King of Mercia to build the monastery at Lichfield.”

For more about John and his gallery, visit or see Impressions of Holy Island on Facebook –