The Cow and Calf rocks near Ilkley have inspired many artists over the years… but now the famous landmark has been captured in a most spiritual creation.

The rocks are the subject of the only religious icon to ever depict a local beauty spot, which was installed at Bradford Cathedral yesterday.

The huge colourful icon, about five foot in diameter, arrived along with its creator John Coleman who added the finishing touches to it.

The icon, which will take its place in the Cathedral’s recently renovated Holy Spirit Chapel, shows the Holy Spirit as a dove in a round world.

Usually icons, religious pictures originating from Greece and Egypt, are flat, square or rectangular – but this one is round.

Designer John Coleman is one of a handful of modern iconographers who create icons using traditional methods. Entitled “The Holy Spirit”, it depicts Pentecost – the birth of the Christian faith. Eagle-eyed visitors might spot that a piece of rhubarb has also been cleverly woven in to the gold-leaf painted piece. It weighs three and a half stone.

Mr Coleman, a retired civil servant from Dorset, said: “When I was first approached with the idea of creating a circular icon, which is one I have never attempted or seen, I thought ‘how am I going to do it?’, the main challenge being trying to locate a piece of wood big enough, as it is made from just one piece of African hard wood. But it was a challenge to do something different. It is the first time I have created a piece from scratch, I usually restore originals.

“It is one of the most enjoyable pieces I have produced. The basic idea of this icon is an adaptation of a very early traditional Egyptian Coptic icon of Pentecost. The most dramatic symbol is the white dove, from the image described at the baptism of Christ of a dove descending and is placed right in the centre of the icon set against the liturgical colour for Pentecost, which is red.

“Although a new icon, it was written using all the ancient traditional methods and materials of icon writing, such as natural pigments mixed with egg yolk and 24ct gold leaf on a piece of Sapele wood.

“The final design of this icon grew from the prayers and suggestions of the many people involved in its creation. As with all icons, it is a work of devotion inspired by the Holy Spirit.”

Cathedral Dean Dr David Ison said: “It’s absolutely unique. For starters it’s round and then it’s got a local scene on it – usually it’s pictures of Jesus or Mary.

“We spent a lot of time talking to people about what we should have on it. We wanted the theme of creation in there and because the traditional icon symbol for that is rocks, the Cow and Calf was the obvious choice. The reason it’s a circle shape is that we wanted it to look like the globe!

“The icon will be just part of what the Cathedral offers its congregation and visitors. We are trying to make it a more prayerful space in the Holy Spirit Chapel, a place where people can come for peace, reflection and in times of distress.”

Anyone walking through the main entrance of the Cathedral will be able to see the icon straight away, its bright reds and golds will definitely draw the eye.

Its creator is a retired civil servant who now makes icons for both Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches including York Minster, and Exeter and Bayeaux Cathedrals.

Another recent new addition to the Cathedral is a brass wall-safe called an aumbry – until now Bradford was one of two cathedrals in the country not to have one.

It has also been placed in the Holy Spirit Chapel to keep consecrated bread and wine for taking out to people who cannot make it to communion – it came from the disused St Mary Magdalene church off Whiteladies Road in Manningham.

Dr Ison explained: “We were really pleased to be able to preserve a piece of another church’s heritage here. I met up with the church warden and had to use a fish knife to remove it. We dedicated here in June.”

The aumbry has an embossed cover with a picture of a pelican on it. In the ancient world, the pelican was thought to feed its young by gashing its own breast and letting them drink its blood so the church used it to represent the idea of Jesus nurturing his followers.

It is the third pelican image in the Cathedral, others are above the Bishop’s Throne and in a window made by William Morris.

The Holy Spirit Chapel at the east end of the Cathedral next to the Lady Chapel is kept for private prayer and its refurbishment was paid for by The Friends of Bradford Cathedral.

For more than four years the Friends, who have around 250 members, have been busy raising £18,000 to pay for the Chapel to be given its make-over including new lights and a lick of paint.

Sandra Howard, from the Friends, said: “It’s fabulous to finally see all our hard work come to an end. It’s magnificent to see everything come to fruition.”

The refurbishment included a new coat of paint, new lighting, new rugs and the furniture being “tidied up”.

Now the Friends are faced with deciding what to fundraise for next – it could be to revamp the parish room.

Mrs Howard said: “It’s under discussion at the moment. We had been thinking about getting our own grand piano but we’ve got an arrangement with the Council that we store their Steinway in return for us giving them reduced rates for concerts so we’re not sure we need our own just yet!”