The City & Guilds of London Art School is a small not for profit Higher Education provider, specialising in contemporary Fine Art, Historic Carving and Conservation. With a student community of circa 250 and a small permanent team working with over 60 sessional tutors, the Art School is a compassionate and caring employer.

The Saturday and evening cover Receptionist, is a member of the Site Team, working with colleagues to ensure the security of the site. This is a responsible role as it will involve being a key holder, and being a point of contact for first aid or security matters. Ideally you will have a valid First Aid certificate. Fire Marshall/fire safety training will be arranged on taking up the post. Liaising with the Site Manager and other members of the Site Team, the post holder will be required to work with due regard to health and safety and to alert the Site Manager to any health and safety and maintenance issues that become apparent.

If you would like to work in a job where your contribution is valued please see the links below for the Application Form, Person Specification and Job Description.


Job Description: JOB_DESCRIPTION_SaturdayReceptionist.pdf

Person Specification: PERSON_SPECIFICATION_SaturdayReceptionist.pdf

Application Form: CityGuildsArtSchool_JOB_APPLICATION_FORM.docx


Application deadline: Wednesday 16 September at 23:59

Start date: October 3rd running through to December 12th

Part-time hours: 5 – 8pm Fridays, 9.30 am to 5.30 pm Saturdays

Salary: £10.50 per hour + holiday pay

Senior Stone Carving Tutor, Nina Bilbey, Senior Woodcarving Tutor, Robert Randall, and Glass Workshop Technician, Anne Petters, are amongst the master craftspeople featured in the new, digital Homo Faber Guide, launching today.

The online guide, published by the Michelangelo Foundation, includes profiles of over 650 artisans from around Europe and provides easy access to the best master craftspeople, rising talents, galleries, museums, manufacturers and studios throughout the continent. The list of artisans and makers was compiled with recommendations from craft and design ambassadors in each country. Ambassadors in the UK include the Crafts Council UK and Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust.

A profile page for each featured craftsperson includes their contact details, a short bio and an insight into their practice. Robert Randall’s profile highlights the 8ft dragon he carved for the Great Pagoda at Kew, where he was one of a team of woodcarvers who followed a prototype designed by Tim Crawley, our recently retired Head of Historic Carving. Robert’s work at Shakespeare’s Globe and St Paul’s Cathedral is also featured. In an interview, Robert explains that he prefers to work with indigenous woods such as lime, oak and pine and explains, “Each wood is chosen either to match an original piece or for its particular qualities, such as durability, ease of carving, sharpness for details or attractive grain or tone.”

Robert gained his Diploma in Ornamental Woodcarving & Gilding at the Art School in 1997, setting up a workshop with fellow alumnus Ashley Sands after graduation. He is currently Senior Woodcarving Tutor on the BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding course.

Robert Randall’s Kew dragon © Robert Randall

Now an eminent British architectural sculptor, Nina Bilbey started her journey with wood. Her father was a master carpenter, and at 16 she was offered to work with him but after “having tasted the freedom of fine art and the joy of experimenting with different materials”, although she was utterly committed to craft as a career, “the restriction of only working with wood” was not an option she would contemplate. Since she was a child, Nina Bilbey, was in fact in love with stone. Making small objects in stone she had found on the beach, collecting pebbles and throwing tantrums when asked to leave buckets full of stone on the beach after a day’s play.

Raised in East Germany, Anne Petters describes how the fall of the Berlin Wall had a dramatic influence on her early life, and the sense of impermanence that followed has fuelled her passion for making art objects with glass, a material that expresses the fragility of reality. Anne describes one of the techniques she uses in her practice: “In the US I came across this technique of shaping glass in the kiln. It’s a sort of printing technique where I carve into a plaster mould and then these drawings are fused onto the glass. It’s a very physical and immediate way of bringing drawing into glass.”

Anne supports students on our fine art and historic craft courses, to develop and extend their practice in the Art School’s Glass Workshop.  Commenting on being selected for inclusion in the Homo Faber Guide, Anne said: “Since taking part in the first Homo Faber at the Cini Foundation in Venice in September 2018, I have stayed in close contact with the Michelangelo Foundation. I am very honoured to be featured in the Homo Faber Guide. It is a fantastic network, a great opportunity for us makers to be recognised as well as finding and connecting to other artists and institutions.” 

Anne Petters Glass Leaf © Anne Petters

Jemma Gunning, a printmaker and artist who was the Art School’s Print Fellow 2018/20, is also one of the featured artisans. Often using the traditional intaglio printing processes which is taught in the Art School’s historic print room, Jemma’s practice focuses on documenting “industrial and urban decline” through the passage of time.

© Jemma Gunning

The Art School has collaborated with the Michelangelo Foundation for a number of years. We are honoured to be part of the Michelangelo Foundation network of like-minded educational institutions throughout Europe that champion historic crafts.  In 2018, Conservation and Carving students and alumni were chosen as Young Ambassadors at the Homo Faber exhibition which showcased fine contemporary, traditional and rare craftsmanship and its link to the world of creativity and design.

The Michelangelo Foundation also selected four of the Art School’s historic craft-based Summer School courses to form part of their inaugural Summer School Programme in July 2019. This initiative exposed eight European makers and craft students to different practices that could inform their work, and it was a great success.

For over 30 years, Heather has built an extensive career in stone masonry and conservation at Canterbury Cathedral. As Head of Conservation since 2013, she worked collaboratively across the organisation, with oversight of all conservation-related matters. Previously, Heather had been the Cathedral’s Head of Stonemasonry and Conservation from 2006, and Stone Mason & Head Conservator since 1988, working on site and in the workshop to produce carved stone and conserve original fabric.

During her time at Canterbury Cathedral, she managed some of the building’s most recent and high-profile major projects, and has had a leading role in ‘The Canterbury Journey’, a major five-year development to conserve and safeguard the Cathedral’s heritage and enrich the visitor experience, including extensive restoration of the West Towers, the Nave roof and Christ Church Gate. She also developed and co-founded the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship, a training initiative run in partnership with eight other cathedrals and the University of Gloucestershire.

As well as her work at Canterbury Cathedral, Heather has been designing and carving memorials in stone and wood with husband Gary, for almost 20 years.


Viv Lawes is an art Historian who specialises in the study of carved and craft objects from the European tradition and East Asian contexts. In this short film recorded on Zoom during Lockdown, Viv speaks about the content of her taught sessions on our undergraduate Historic Carving and Conservation courses, and discusses the different methodologies she employs. One of the key features of Viv’s sessions is the teaching of the specific vocabularies around art design objects. For a conservator or carver, using precise descriptive terms enables an accurate assessment of an object’s status; her course teaches these terms and helps students to use them fluently.

Viv is particularly interested in ‘making heard’ the ideas and attitudes of students from different cultural, craft-based and professional backgrounds. In her seminars she encourages discussion and debate and critically evaluates the Western tradition from a range of different perspectives.

Dr Oriana Fox is an art theorist and practising artist, and teaches Art Histories on a range of courses across the Art School. Here, Oriana speaks about the different Art Histories modules she teaches on the BA (Hons) Fine Art course. As you will hear, Oriana teaches art history from a particularly contemporary perspective and encourages students to think about artworks from the past as well as the present through the lens of the very latest theoretical, cultural and political ideas.

Feminist theory, Queer theory, Crip theory and disability politics, post colonial subjectivities, Black and BAME discourses, intersectionality are introduced, unpacked and presented from an entirely global perspective.

In this Zoom conversation with Head of Art Histories, Tom Groves, during Lockdown, Oriana also tells us about some of the more creative and experimental teaching and learning strategies she uses in her sessions. Through discussion and debate; from quiet individual study to analytic speed dating; Oriana’s sessions have something for everyone.

City & Guilds of London Art School is delighted to announce the appointment of Heather Newton as the new Head of Historic Carving, following Tim Crawley’s retirement from the role. Heather will take up the post at the beginning of September, welcoming students at the start of the new academic year.

Heather joins the Art School from Canterbury Cathedral, where she has been Head of Conservation since 2013, a senior post that involves working collaboratively across the organisation, with oversight of all conservation-related matters. Previously, Heather had been the Cathedral’s Head of Stonemasonry and Conservation from 2006.

Commenting on her new role at the Art School, Heather said: “I feel both delighted and privileged to be taking up the post of Head of Historic Carving at the City & Guilds of London Art School. I hope that the years of experience working at Canterbury Cathedral will have prepared me to both lead and support my new colleagues and our students, and am excited at the prospect of embarking on another phase of my career in such an esteemed institution.”

Heather trained in Fine Art, Stonemasonry and Conservation, most latterly receiving an MSc Buildings Conservation Technology and Management from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. In her role at Canterbury Cathedral, she managed some of the Cathedral’s most recent and high-profile major projects, and has had a leading role in ‘The Canterbury Journey’, a major five-year development to conserve and safeguard the Cathedral’s heritage and enrich the visitor experience, including extensive restoration of the West Towers, the Nave roof and Christ Church Gate.

As well as her role as Head of Conservation, Heather is a consultant to the Canterbury Diocesan Advisory Committee and also a member of Rochester Cathedral’s Fabric Advisory Committee. She also developed, and is a founding member, the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship, a training initiative run in partnership with eight other cathedrals and the University of Gloucestershire.

In addition to her career at Canterbury Cathedral, Heather and her husband Gary have been hand designing and carving memorials in stone and wood for almost 20 years. All design, masonry, carving and installation is carried out in-house, ensuring that every commission is unique. Heather and Gary share the work between them, drawing on their backgrounds in fine art and design respectively, to produce beautifully-crafted, individual pieces.

Awarded the Master Mason Certificate by the Worshipful Company of Masons in 2012, Heather was granted the Freedom of the City of London in 2015 and is an accredited member of Institute of Conservation (ICON), Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) and International Institute of Conservation (IIC).

Heather’s experience conserving Canterbury Cathedral was published in Jonathan Foyle’s Architecture of Canterbury Cathedral and she was often the media face of conservation projects on the Cathedral, appearing on TV and radio to discuss the programmes, including the BBC’s documentary series ‘A Year in the Life of Canterbury Cathedral’.

Sitting on the interview panel for the position, John Goodall FSA (historian, author, and Architectural Editor of Country Life magazine) said of the appointment:

“It’s very exciting to see someone with such breadth of experience as a practitioner, teacher and ambassador taking up this crucial role within City & Guilds of London Art School.  As Head of Historic Carving, Heather Newton will be able to develop further the formidable reputation that the Art School already enjoys.”

The Art School very much looks forward to welcoming Heather and working with her in this important role overseeing the Carving Department’s BA programmes in Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding / Architectural Stone, as well as its MA Carving; the only carving courses validated at this level in the UK.

A few places are available on BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding, BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone and on the reserve list for PgDip/MA Carving, starting in September 2020. Anyone Interested in applying is invited to find out more on an online open day or download a course application form.

Images: © Chapter of Canterbury

City & Guilds of London Art School is launching its new undergraduate course in Books & Paper Conservation in September 2020, after successfully reaching an ambitious fundraising target that will enable the Art School to create and equip a suite of conservation studios and facilities in its Georgian terrace building in central London. The programme of works is well underway and despite the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, will be completed in time to welcome the new student cohort in late September.

BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper is the only course of its kind to be offered in London, and in the UK. The new award will sit alongside and complement the Art School’s existing and highly-regarded Conservation programme specialising in cultural objects made of wood, stone and the treatment of decorative surfaces; BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces. This development also sees the expansion of our MA Conservation to include both research and practical projects in books and paper at an advanced level.

The plans for the new studios follow a rigorous review with Alan Higgs Architects and laboratory furniture and equipment specialist SplusB, alongside the advice of a panel of Books & Paper Conservation experts. The new studios and laboratory will be located near to the existing Conservation facilities, creating an extended Conservation area within the Art School.

The addition of this new Books & Paper Conservation course will see the Art School’s Conservation Department double in scale over the next three years, and follows the closure in 2018 of MA Conservation at Camberwell College of Arts, part of University of the Arts London (UAL). UAL are donating specialist equipment and materials to support the set-up of the new course and have provided some bursary funding to support students from groups under-represented in Higher Education.


Books & Paper conservation training in the UK has a long and important history and is very well respected internationally, attracting students from around the world, including the US where no specialist provision is currently available. Now that the Art School is offering the new undergraduate Books & Paper award along with clear progression to MA Conservation, the country’s educational provision for this specialist subject will be significantly enhanced, giving students a wider choice and enabling them to progress directly into employment in the conservation world.

The addition of this course will play a crucial role in ensuring there is a regular stream of new professionals graduating into this thriving field of conservation, enabling the continuation of the specialist knowledge and skills needed for the future preservation of our cultural heritage.

Christopher Harvey, Head of Conservation at College of Arms Library, London, commented:

“…the resourcing and sustainable support being prepared at CGLAS is in complete alignment with the specific needs of the training of conservators as evidenced by over seventy years’ experience in teaching its existing conservation of stone, wood and decorative surfaces courses. CGLAS is therefore a natural ‘home’ for the provision of book and paper conservation. The school is centrally located and close to London’s international museums, galleries, libraries and other learning resources which provide students with unrivalled learning, training, and work opportunities.”

City & Guilds of London Art School is grateful for generous grants made towards the project by the Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, the Steel Trust, the Pilgrim Trust, the Leche Trust, the Headley Trust and those who wish to remain anonymous.

About the course

Students on the BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper will benefit from a tried and tested intensive approach to teaching conservation which includes skills-based practical training, as well as teaching in materials science, cultural and materials history, philosophy and ethics of conservation. The course will be delivered through a combination of one-to-one and small group teaching by expert practising professionals.

The syllabus has been developed with the ongoing advice and expertise of books & paper conservation specialists Edward Cheese (The Fitzwilliam Museum), Jacqueline Moon and Valeria Duplat (Tate) and Sonja Schwoll (National Archives), and was validated with expert input from Christopher Harvey (College of Arms), ensuring that the course has currency and relevance with the active engagement of professional mentors and partner institutions from the outset.

As well as developing a deep understanding of the wider conservation knowledge and skills that are taught throughout the Conservation Department, students studying for the Books & Paper award will gain specialist experience including etching, bookbinding, leather tooling, marbling, paper and ink making, making pastels and crayons with traditional recipes and the history and science of western and eastern papers including wallpapers. These specialist skills will support students with conservation and restoration projects focused on printed books, parchment, manuscripts and paper artworks, including fragile painted and drawn paper artworks, illuminated books and paper-covered globes.


The course also teaches modern book and paper conservation techniques that include chemical cleaning, fibre identification, spot tests and the use of ultraviolet photography. The completion of remedial conservation projects in their final year, ensures students experience valuable professional practice that will equip them for a career in conservation.

Due to the location of the Art School, students have access to an unrivalled array of collections, research and projects owned by the many major institutions in London, all within easy reach. Indeed, several institutions including Tate, Fitzwilliam Museum and National Archives, have already offered placement opportunities and live projects to students on the Books & Paper course.

September 2020 places are available on the reserve list for BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper, BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces and a few places are available on MA Conservation. Anyone interested in finding out more can book onto an online open day and download a course application form.

During the coronavirus lockdown, the Art School’s facilities have been closed and our courses delivered remotely. Our Historic Carving students have continued practising from home; some working from existing workshops, others setting up make-shift studios where they can. Our carving tutors have also been delivering our wood and stone carving courses from their home studios.

We were lucky enough to have a virtual visit to the Norfolk workshop of Nina Bilbey, our Senior Stone Carving Tutor, who showed us around her amazing studio and introduced us to her collection of tools and the work she is currently making.

Enjoy the tour!

As well as getting a glimpse into Nina’s lockdown world, we were also treated to lockdown studio visits from some of our alumni, Fellows and students. You can watch all these films, and more, on our YouTube channel.

Visit our Historic Carving web pages to find out more about our undergraduate and postgraduate architectural stone carving courses, or get in touch on

We are delighted to announce that Orbis Conservation, a conservation company founded and run by alumni from the Art School’s renowned Conservation Department, has been nominated for this year’s Museums + Heritage Awards for Restoration/Conservation project of the year with Plymouth City Council, for their work on the figurehead collection for The Box.


Installation Defiance at The Box in Plymouth 2019

This ambitious two-year project involved the conservation, consolidation and restoration of five, large 19th century ships’ figureheads. The figureheads were installed at The Box, Plymouth, a new arts and heritage complex.


HMS Royal William during treatment (L) and during redecoration (R)

Commenting on the award nomination and the project that won them the deserved recognition, the team at Orbis said:

We are honoured and excited to have been nominated in this year’s Museums + Heritage Awards for Restoration/Conservation project of the year with Plymouth City Council for our work on the figurehead collection for The Box.

“This project consumed us for over two years, and was hugely challenging, demanding innovative problem solving. Thanks to the wide ranging scope of the project, we were given the opportunity to trial a new form of structural analysis of timber in conservation (sonic tomography), carry out copious amounts of research into the construction and decoration of ship’s figureheads, design and fabricate structural mounts, and ultimately carry out full conservation treatments to ensure the continued survival of these fascinating objects.”


HMS Topaze during consolidation treatment (L) and during post treatment redecoration (R)

Read more about the Figurehead project here.

Orbis Conservation was founded in 2013 by Art School alumni, Max Malden (BA (Hons) Conservation 2012) and Hans Thompson (BA (Hons) Conservation 2013). They were joined by Kirsty Walsh (BA (Hons) Conservation 2015), who is currently studying part-time on our MA Conservation.

The virtual awards ceremony will take place on 22 September 2020 and we wish, Max, Hans and Kirsty every success!


We are very excited to announce that our online Foundation Show 2020 is now live and open to visitors.

Enter the Foundation Show here!

The Foundation Show 2020 is a celebration of the achievements and talents of students on our one-year Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, and features work in a wide range of disciplines including textiles, film, installation, printmaking and performance.

During the Foundation Diploma, students interrogate and test a broad range of approaches and materials, choosing a specialism to focus on and develop. The works featured in the Show are the final projects undertaken by the students in the latter stage of this immersive course.

Despite the constraints and difficulties imposed by the coronavirus crisis, students have remained dedicated to completing their final pieces with remarkable resilience and ambition and we are very proud of their considerable commitment. We congratulate them all on their outstanding work and wish them every success in their future endeavours.

Here’s a taster of some of the work you can view in the online Show.

Coco Emmanuelle Wheeler

Whinnie Zhu

Maurice Mutua

There are still a few places available on our Foundation Diploma in Art & Design starting in September.  Go to our Foundation Diploma pages for more information about the course, and if you have specific questions or want to know more, you can arrange an online open day with our Head of Department.  To apply for the Diploma, you can find application information and downloadable forms here.  Interviews will be held online or by email.

Matthew Rowe and Materiality & Meaning: Critical thinking and the use of philosophical ideas on the MA in Art & Material Histories.

During the Coronavirus Lockdown in the UK, Head of Art Histories, Tom Groves, met with philosopher and critical thinker Matthew Rowe on Zoom to discuss the kinds of ideas he explores with students on the MA in Art & Material Histories. He also provides some really useful advice about how we can use philosophy as a kind of tool kit to dig down under the surface of everyday thinking to reveal how our understanding of the material world is shaped by the histories of thought.

If you are thinking of applying to the Art & Material Histories MA or would like to know a bit more about how we use philosophical ideas on the course, watch this.

Andy Bannister teaches across the Art Histories and Fine Art Departments. He is an artist, researcher and musician whose current work explores the impact of developments in science and technology on culture and society during the Cold War era.  Andy is a lead tutor delivering lectures and supervising MA students as they write their MA Fine Art Critical Model Dissertation.

Here in a Zoom discussion carried out at the height of the coronavirus UK Lockdown, Andy explains what the Critical Model Dissertation is and how it enables students to explore the complex web of threads that link their studio work to its various contexts. Andy also reflects on the dynamic relationship between writing and making and how students are supported to navigate this.

If you are thinking of enrolling on the MA in Fine Art, or if you already have and want to know more about what the Dissertation involves, you will find this short video really useful.

The Art Histories Department at the Art School delivers a wide range of learning activities to all students across the Art School. One of the principles of the Department is that the finest understanding of art and art history emerges out of an up-close, first-hand experience of its objects of study. Whether it is a complex theoretical text, or layered painted canvas, or intricately carved altarpiece, we believe that the close encounter produces the most valuable knowledge.

Michael Paraskos delivers a series of lectures entitled The History of British Architecture. During his session, students studying Conservation and Stone and Wood Carving, journey with him through the ages and around London’s wealth of historical buildings.

In this short Zoom chat with Michael, carried out in June this year, he reminds us that only so much of what we know about historical buildings emerges out of speculative thinking. Only by experiencing architecture in person can we meaningfully reflect on how a building worked as a living space at the time of its creation as well as today.

During the coronavirus pandemic our awareness of the material world has become heightened. Certain objects and surfaces that we never gave a second thought to (door handles, shopping trollies, park-benches etc), became charged with a frightening potential for harm. Our hands too became vehicles of contagion, and what, who, how and why we touch became entangled with the discourses of politics as well as health.

Laura White is an artist and material thinker whose research explores our relationship with the material world. Here in a Zoom interview, carried out at the height of the Lockdown in the UK, Laura reflects on some of the many aspects of her teaching on the MA in Art & Material Histories at the Art School.

If you are thinking of applying to the MA in Art & Material Histories, this short video will provide you with an insight into the this aspect of the course.

Since the Art School’s facilities have been closed to students and staff during lockdown, our BA and MA Fine Art students have set up makeshift studios wherever they can in their homes. Tutorials, seminars, group critiques and one-to-ones with tutors and peers, have all been delivered online and students have used the tools and materials that have been available to them in their practice.

We have been so impressed with the resourcefulness and enthusiasm of our tutors and students alike. Tutors have shown a laudable determination to replicate the Art School experience as closely as they can, instigating ingenious ways of teaching and supporting their students. Our students have demonstrated an incredible commitment to challenge and extend their practice, adapting techniques and materials to the circumstances.

We thought we’d give you an insight into some of the work our Fine Art students have been making.

Pieces by Freya Moffat

Freya Moffat, BA Fine Art, used the materials that were readily available to her at home (cardboard delivery boxes and papier-mâché Evening Standard newspapers), to make a series of ‘creatures’ that she photographed in different contexts. Freya says: “When they’re photographed, they become strange reflections of us! Or manifestations of the distorted way that we are living at the moment (perhaps always!) I look a lot at photographers like Cindy Sherman and Laurie Simmons and the ways that they distort and comment on the photographic portrait.”

Connie’s Lockdown work

Unable to access her studio, Connie Cubbitt, MA Fine Art, set up a studio in her shed and found the restrictions of COVID-19 meant she had to adapt her practice, with great results.  “My current practice is concerned with intimacies and the impact of their loss. The work is centered around specific memories as well as notions of obfuscation and concealment. Lockdown and its material limitations have been beneficial to my practice overall, forcing me to make use of the limited space and interrogate the theoretical implications of my work rather than continuing to generate larger, structural oil paintings, as I was in mid March. I am now living in London with nowhere to paint and so have moved into an almost entirely paintless practice, working with oil pastels and pencil on paper.” 

BA Fine Art graduating student Polina Pak

Polina Pak, final year BA (Hons) Fine Art,  has been working on a series of paintings titled ‘She lent me her pyjama bottoms’ that revolve around de-stigmatising abortion, the experience and the healing process that follows through depicting objects, domestic spaces and parts of the body of women who have been through this event in the past.

All our final year BA Fine Art students have been working extremely hard to complete a body of work to exhibit in the Degree Show. This year, we’ll be celebrating their tremendous achievements with an online graduate showcase, launching in the Autumn, and we’ll hold a physical Show at the Art School when circumstances allow. Meanwhile, graduating students are managing an Instagram account @cglas_graduates2020  where they are showcasing their final year outcomes through artists’ profiles, interviews and IGTV tutorials.


We are delighted that our 2020 graduates were selected to exhibit some of their interim work as part of  ‘Final, not Over’ at Unit 1 Gallery Workshop.  The Gallery ran four sessions, showcasing the work of graduating students from different art schools, including the Royal College of Art and Slade School of Art, as well as City & Guilds of London Art School.


Images courtesy of the Artists and Unit 1 Gallery Workshop

In lieu of a ‘real-life’ end of year show, students completing the first year of their BA (Hons) Fine Art organised a virtual show on the Instagram account @kenningtonkrewgoesonline. Each student posted a showcase of their work along with an artist’s statement.

Although our creative community were not physically together in the Art School’s studios and facilities, we stayed connected through the Art School’s social media platforms. Alumni, Fellows and tutors have been making films shot in their lockdown studios and sharing insights into their current work. Art School Print Fellow, Kristina Chan and Artist Woodworking Fellow, Daniel Owusu feature in these short films.

In the Fine Art Department, and throughout the Art School, we are extremely excited about starting the new academic year in our bright and spacious Art School studios and can’t wait to welcome our new students into our supportive community.

You can find out more about how we approach Fine Art here at City & Guilds of London Art School through our course pages. We have a few places available on our BA and MA Fine Art starting this September, so if you want to ask any questions or just have a chat about the course, book an online open day. And if you want to apply for a place on a course, you can get the application details here.

Inline with guidance from the Government and Public Health England,  the Art School closed its facilities to all staff and students from 6pm on Tuesday 17 March 2020.  Since that time, we have been delivering our Foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate courses remotely, developing effective methods to continue the high quality education the Art School is renowned for.

Through interactive tutorials, seminars, demonstrations, reviews and one-to-ones, our tutors have approached this new online arena in an agile and resourceful way, determined to replicate the Art School experience as closely as possible. Our students have also adapted amazingly well during this period, establishing makeshift home studios and workshops, and continuing to practice remotely.

Top: BA Fine Art graduating student Polina Pak.  L-R: Charlotte Okparaeke (BA (Hons) Conservation) treating the Joseph Wade Memorial for one of her final year projects; First year BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding student, Tom Buchanan, carving an acanthus bracket.

We are absolutely committed to the ongoing progression of all our students and to celebrating the achievements and successes of our final year students, which seem all the more impressive considering the current circumstances. Where possible, their work will be featured in online showcases, meanwhile we are planning exhibitions for our BA and MA graduating students when circumstances allow.  Excitingly, you can now view the brilliant work of our Foundation Diploma in Art & Design students in our purpose-built virtual gallery space that launched this week. Explore the Foundation Show 2020 here.

Works featured in the online Foundation Show 2020. Clockwise from top left: Anna Merati; Maurice Matua; Callum Jones; Issy Romano.

Preparations for a safe return

In the meantime, the Art School is making preparations for a safe return for students and staff for the new academic year, starting in September 2020. Strictly adhering to guidance issued by the Government and Public Health England, we are putting measures in place to ensure social distancing and safety procedures can be carried out effectively.

To this end, we are carefully planning the allocation of studio spaces and opening hours for our workshop facilities. To maximise on studio and lab space and time for students, we will be running larger group activities such as lectures and seminars online in the first term, whereas appropriately-spaced one-to-ones and small group tutorials, so integral to our approach, will continue to take place in Art School studios.

Course timetabling will be adapted so that start and end times, and breaks and lunch times can be  staggered to avoid congestion in communal areas.

We are installing hand sanitiser stations throughout the site and reviewing Public Health England and World Health Organisation advice regarding face coverings and PPE. Following a thorough deep clean of the buildings, we are increasing the cleaning rota on a continuous basis and preparing clearly defined routes into and out of the Art School.

We are confident that whilst working within these safety guidelines, we can continue to provide high quality and intensive specialist courses to all our students, maintaining the vibrant, creative atmosphere that is always present at the Art School.

A few places available for 2020/21

We have a few places available on all our courses for 2020/21, which we expect to start in September and October as planned. You can find out more about each course by following the links:

• Foundation Diploma in Art & Design
• BA (Hons) Fine Art
• MA Fine Art
• BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding
• BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone
• PgDip/MA Carving
• BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces
• BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper
• MA Conservation
• MA Art & Material Histories

If you have specific questions about a course or want to know more, you can arrange an online open day with our Heads of Departments. If you are ready to apply for a course, you can find application information and downloadable forms here.  Interviews will be held online or by email.

If you are an international student and have accepted a place at the Art School commencing in 2020/21, please keep yourself informed about the current position with regards to travel and visa processing centre availability. You can contact the Coronavirus Immigration Hotline (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) on +44 (0)800 678 1767 or email Let us know if you need any assistance with this.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

– a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

– a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home. Please see government advice about self-isolation.

If you are unable to cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition worsens, you can use the NHS 111 online coronavirus (COVID-19) service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

If someone in your household develops COVID-19 symptoms, all other members of the household need to stay at home for 14 days.

How to avoid catching coronavirus

Public Health England and the NHS advise the following measures to stay healthy:

– limit contact with others and stay at home as much as possible

– maintain social distancing

– wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

– use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

– do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

– cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

– put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards


To help students navigate the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the Art School is extending the application dates for all its 2020/21 courses, including its Foundation Diploma, Undergraduate and Postgraduate Degree courses and Graduate Diploma Arts.


Additional application windows have been added for 7 June, 15 July and 19 August 2020, giving applicants a greater degree of flexibility during this difficult time. The application extension applies to the following courses:

Foundation Diploma in Art & Design

BA (Hons) Fine Art
MA Fine Art

BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces
BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper
MA Conservation

BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone
BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding
PgDip/MA Carving

Graduate Diploma Arts in Carving, Conservation and Art & Material Histories.

Applications made after these dates may be considered if places are available.

Those interested in finding out more about a course can book onto an online open day, and anyone wishing to apply for a course can access the downloadable application form here. Due to the current lockdown situation, interviews are being conducted online.

The Art School is committed to widening participation in higher education and is able to offer a range of grants and financial assistance to students once they have enrolled on a course. These are awarded on the basis of demonstrable need and ability, and can cover varying portions of the tuition fees for a year.

If anyone has any questions about the Art School’s specialist courses, the application process or the available grants and financial assistance, please get in touch at

One of the projects currently being undertaken by students in the first year of BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding is to carve an acanthus leaf design onto a wooden bracket.  Tutor Peter Thuring is supporting students throughout this module with tutorials, demonstrations, one-to-ones and a variety of online learning aids. We thought we’d give you a peek into our virtual woodcarving studio and show you what our students are learning.

All the students have received a plaster cast of an 18th century bracket design and two pre-band sawn lime wood blanks, which Peter posted to their homes. Before they start carving their lime wood bracket, Peter is guiding them step-by-step through the preliminary stages: thorough research and drawing; carving a clay model; using a plaster cast design guide.

Research and drawings

The acanthus motif has been used as architectural ornament throughout history and as such, there are many variations on the design. However, through comprehensive research and analysis, consistent features can be identified such as a strongly defined centre vein with lateral veins tapering down to the bottom of the central vein and the division of the leaf edges into three or five parts.   The acanthus design drawing is built up from a basic, symmetrical grid structure, with layers of detail precisely measured and added to the grid to form the final drawing of this ornate design.

Clay model

Two blocks of clay, exactly the same size as the lime wood blanks, are prepared by the students and left to dry to “leather hard”. Using their drawings as a detailed guide, they measure out sections and the main volumes in the design, mark them in the clay, and then cut them into the clay with chisels. Taking each section at a time, they gradually and meticulously mark out the full detail of the designs into the clay and, selecting the appropriate chisels, cut into the clay to create a model that will form an exact carving guide for the acanthus bracket.

As well as producing an exact model of the bracket design to be carved, this process helps the student carvers understand how the motif design fits together, the relative proportions of each detail and the carving techniques required to create this intricate design.

Plaster cast model

As the students don’t currently have access to the Art School’s specialist facilities, their Tutor, Peter Thuring, created the plaster casts for this project from an 18th century model, and sent it to the students along with the lime wood blanks. From the plaster cast, the students can carefully draw the acanthus design onto the wood blank. Different methods are used to achieve this including detailed and accurate measuring and tracing.

Now the final part of the process can begin – carving into the wood blank…


Since the Art School’s workshops and studios have been closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak and national lockdown, tutors on all our courses have been continuing tutorials, seminars and one-to-ones from isolation at home and students have been working in their make-shift home studios.

Content and teaching methods have been adapted and taught online through the Art School’s online learning environment, Moodle, and other online platforms. Even here in the Historic Carving Department our students are able to continue developing their carving skills from home.

A new project set for first-year students on our BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding course supports them to carve an Acanthus leaf motif on a bracket. Tutor, Peter Thuring, posted a full briefing paper for the project on Moodle and sent a plaster cast of an 18th century bracket design and two pre-band sawn lime wood blanks by mail to each student’s home.

There are various stages to the Acanthus project. Students have been asked to conduct their own thorough research into Acanthus leaf design as used throughout history as architectural ornament, and create drawings based on their research.

Although there are many different variations in Acanthus motif design in different historical periods, there are also many consistent features. This illustration, taken from a 19th century source shows how the design can be built up from first principles.

Following their research and drawing practise, they need to prepare two blocks of clay and allow them to dry to “leather hard”. These will be used to practise cutting the Acanthus leaf shape and form a clay model on which to base the final carving.

At each stage, from research and drawing to cutting the clay models and finally carving the wood blanks, students will review and discuss their progress with Peter, who will provide feedback and demonstrations to guide them through the process. As well as their  hands-on “workshop” practice, students need to keep a carving process log which documents their work in progress and includes their completed models. Along with a self-evaluation form, this will be submitted for assessment at the end of the project in May.

For a more detailed description of the processes our student carvers are undertaking, read our blog ‘Preparing to carve lime wood acanthus brackets’.

As well as the more structured guidance provided in the project briefing paper, Peter has made some helpful suggestions for completing this carving project at home. He uses hand-drawn diagrams to explain how to secure the carving onto the kitchen table in lieu of a workbench.

Screw the carving onto a small board.

Clamp it onto the kitchen table.

Steady rickety table legs by tying a bag of sand, bricks or gravel with a rope to the table, increasing the load if the table still moves.

The first-year woodcarving students are just starting this new module and work is progressing well so far. Here’s student Tom Buchanan working on the project on his kitchen table workbench.


A new, short  film by Naoto Sakamoto features the Art School’s International Artist in Residence 2019, Taku Obata, and documents his making process as he carves a life-size, wooden ‘B-BOY’ sculpture during his residency in the Art School’s studios.  The impressive, polychrome carving, typical of Taku’s work, featured in a recent exhibition at Japan House London, which included an artist talk and demonstration.

Taku explains that the time and space afforded to him by his residency at the Art School allowed him to test out a different approach to his work, with more emphasis on sketching and intricate measurement.

Taku Obata is a multi-disciplinary Artist, who works mainly with large scale polychrome woodcarving and video. His practice is influenced by his background as a break-dancer and his work fuses urban themes with Japanese craft techniques.

Predominantly based in Japan, Taku received a master’s degree in sculpture from the Tokyo University of the Arts in 2008 and the same year won the grand prize at the Tokyo Wonder Site Grand Prix for his “B-BOY sculpture”. He has had a string of successful solo exhibitions in Japan and the United States, as well as exhibiting in many group shows.

The Art School’s residency programme provides generous studio space and access to specialist facilities to early and mid-career artists, who in return share their practice insights with students studying on the undergraduate and postgraduate Fine Art and Historic Carving programmes.

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We offer BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces and BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper (both three-year, full-time courses) and MA Conservation (one year, full time or two years, part time). If you want to study at postgraduate level but need to enhance specific areas of practice or knowledge before embarking on our specialist MA Conservation course,  we can offer you a bespoke plan with our one or two-year Graduate Diploma Arts: Conservation programme.

Our specialist Conservation labs and studios are situated in the Art School’s elegant Georgian building. Our BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper course commences this autumn and has been developed in consultation with a number of leading conservation specialists at the Tate, National Archives, Fitzwilliam Museum and College of Arms. Students on this course will benefit from new, bespoke facilities specifically designed for teaching this conservation specialism.

The Art School has been providing high-quality conservation courses for over 50 years, developing an outstanding reputation within the heritage sector.

Conservation is the meeting-point of science and art – a fascinating blend of state-of-the-art forensics, aesthetics and traditional craft skills. As such, our conservation courses offer hands-on engagement with the craft skills employed in historic manufacturing processes combined with leading-edge scientific analysis and treatment procedures, contemporary conservation practice, humanities and the ethics, laws and regulations of conservation.

On our courses, you’ll benefit from small class sizes, expert tutors (all leading industry professionals) and specialist lab facilities including state-of-the-art laser technology.

Our extensive links with leading museums and private collectors will provide you with high-profile live projects, placements and a professional network. In the last five years, 100% of graduates have been employed in conservation within six months of graduation, including an annual funded internship in Venice. Many of our alumni have gone on to work within national museum and gallery conservation departments including senior conservation posts at Birmingham Museum and Art Collections, Historic Royal Palaces, the Museum of London, the National Trust, Tate, Victoria & Albert Museum, British Museum, Wallace Collection and Westminster Abbey. Graduates are also employed throughout the private sector with firms such as Cliveden Conservation Workshops, Plowden and Smith, Nimbus Conservation, Taylor Pearce Conservation.

Alongside the conservation labs and studios, our conservation students use other specialist facilities at the Art School. Follow this link to take a look around our specialist workshops and shared spaces.

An Art Histories programme is integral to our conservation courses. The programme takes a detailed and materials-based approach to Art History (Antiquity to Modern), The History of British Architecture and The History of Style. Regular guided visits to architectural sites, historic houses and museums will enhance your learning and provide you with an in-depth understanding of the historical and technical factors that affect conservation practice, conservation ethics and policy.

In this Zoom conversation recorded during lockdown, art historian Viv Lawes, talks about her taught sessions on our conservation courses, which particularly focus on the importance of the use of specific vocabularies around art design objects.

BA (Hons) Conservation

During the first two years of the course, you’ll develop a deepening-level of  knowledge and skills in a wide range of specialist conservation topics including ethics, history and philosophy, legislation and preventive conservation approaches. Alongside these subjects, you’ll learn the science of conservation, including materials science and, through hands-on workshops, you’ll explore the historic craft skills used in the manufacturing process of the objects and artefacts you will treat. Engaging in modern conservation techniques, including laser cleaning and technical analysis using IR spectroscopy, UV microscopy and mass-spectrometry, you’ll work on supervised conservation projects with specialist experts, on artefacts loaned from our extensive, heritage network.

This will prepare you to develop your conservation practice further in your final year, when you’ll complete several remedial conservation projects, with supervision from your specialist tutors, involving historical research, material analysis, treatment proposal and application.

Find out more about the BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces course content here.

Find out more about the BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper course content here.

MA Conservation

Our MA Conservation course focuses on complex advanced level Conservation projects and sets out to equip graduates to go on to become leaders in the field. It is designed for those who have either an undergraduate degree in Conservation or who have extensive professional experience within a conservation setting. The MA involves high level conservation projects, advanced conservation science, research, ethics and professional practice. The course culminates in the completion of an ambitious practical conservation project accompanied by an extended research and treatment report.

This course will prepare you to work on ambitious, or large-scale conservation projects as a specialist or project leader and to work as an expert in International contexts.

Find out more about the MA Conservation course content here.

All Conservation courses are validated by Ravensbourne University London.


If you’d like to speak to the Head of Department to find out more details or ask specific questions, we can offer you an online open day. To arrange an online open day at a convenient date and time, please contact us as at

Download a pdf of our prospectus here.

Click on the images below to enlarge them and explore the Conservation Department.

As we always prioritise the health and wellbeing of staff and students, the evolving COVID-19 outbreak caused the Art School to close all facilities to staff and students, from 6pm, Tuesday 17 March.

The Art School remains committed to delivering quality educational experiences, that facilitate progression and successful graduation. So, whilst our buildings are closed, the Art School remains active with staff working remotely and teaching online. We will re-open the buildings as soon as we are able to do so in accordance with government guidance.

We urge both staff and students to follow the latest guidance from Public Health England. Follow these links for full and up-to-date health guidance and government measures to suppress the spread of coronavirus.

Information for current students

For detailed information on: registering any coronavirus symptoms; your online teaching provision; travel outside the UK; and visas & immigration, please go to Moodle.

Information for applicants for 2020/21

We expect our 2020/21 courses to run as planned from autumn 2020. Places are still available on all courses. You can find out more about each course by following the links:

Foundation Diploma in Art & Design
BA (Hons) Fine Art
MA Fine Art
BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding
BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone
PgDip/MA Carving
BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces
BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper
MA Conservation
MA Art & Material Histories

If you have an interview arranged, our Admissions Team will be in contact to explain the alternative arrangements put in place.

If you are an international student and have accepted a place at the Art School commencing in 2020/21, please keep yourself informed about the current position with regards to travel and visa processing centre availability. You can contact the Coronavirus Immigration Hotline (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) on +44 (0)800 678 1767 or email

Our open days will recommence once the buildings re-open but in the meantime, we are conducting open day sessions online. You can arrange your online open day here.

If you are ready to apply for a course, you can find application information and downloadable forms here.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

– a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

– a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home. Please see government advice about self-isolation.

If you are unable to cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition worsens, you can use the NHS 111 online coronavirus (COVID-19) service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

If someone in your household develops COVID-19 symptoms, all other members of the household need to stay at home for 14 days.

How to avoid catching coronavirus

Public Health England and the NHS advise the following measures to stay healthy:

– wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

– use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

– do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

– cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

– put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

– maintain social distancing – stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people, when you go outside.


As part of her final year conservation project on the BA (Hons) Conservation course, Charlotte Okparaeke has chosen to use 3D printing in the treatment plan she has designed. This is the first time 3D printing has been used by a student in the Conservation Department and is a significant development.

Charlotte is working on a Girandole gilt wood and compo mirror frame and is using the 3D scans to replace lost ornament on the frame where the reverse section is complete. A mould was taken from the surviving section and a plaster cast made. This cast was then scanned and will be refined and reversed with Meshmixer software, then 3D printed to obtain the mirror image.

The 3D print may be used as a positive from which a further mould and cast can be produced in the material of choice. Or it can be used as a negative, providing a ready-made mould. The scan can also be resized to allow for shrinkage in the final casting material, such as compo putty.

Charlotte intends to explore these different options to find the best solution for her object.

Support and facilities were provided by the prototyping department at our validating partner, Ravensbourne University London

Concluding a series of six workshops with artist and materials researcher Laura White, our Art & Material Histories students have been exploring the co-dependent relationship between materials and the human body. Through a series of exercises that inhibited as well as expanded their bodies’ capabilities, students reflected on varied material experiences and what they can teach us about the ways we might privilege specific embodied encounters.

The workshop began by asking students to pick up a familiar object without the use of their hands and lift it from the floor to the table. Students discovered that by working together, new forms of behaviour and understanding were exposed. Next, they were invited to construct an object/sculpture/device that impeded their bodies’ normal capacity. Cardboard, plaster, duct tape, and more, were wound and wrapped around material things and then latched to the body in novel and unexpected ways, producing a multitude of artwork/research tools that could be used to re-evaluate our physical interactions with the material and art world.

This final workshop concluded a series of material-based research activities that have challenged not only our relationship to the material world, but the very methodologies by which we carryout art historical research itself. Art is made of materials; pixels, paint and stone, clay, meat and foam, and in order to fully understand them we need to develop new forms of material knowledge.

All images courtesy of Laura White.

New work by Taku Obata, City & Guilds of London Art School Artist in Residence 2019, is being exhibited at Japan House London from 28 February to 6 April 2020. The exhibition features Taku’s most recent work , a life-size wood carving of a ‘B-GIRL’, made during his residency at the Art School. To accompany the exhibition, Taku will also be giving an artist talk on 11 March, a drawing demonstration on 14 March and a carving demonstration on 4 April.

Taku is a Japanese contemporary artist who works mainly with large-scale, polychrome woodcarving and video. His work is inspired by his background as a breakdancer. The Art School visited Taku’s show at Tokyo’s influential Watari-um gallery, during a knowledge exchange visit with Tokyo University of the Arts Sculpture Restoration PhD Lab in November 2018 involving a group of tutors and historic-craft experts from the Art School. This trip was financially supported by the Toshiba International Foundation and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

Taku Obata, a graduate of Tokyo University of the Arts, won the grand prize at the Tokyo Wonder Site Grand Prix for his “B-BOY sculpture”. He has had a string of successful solo exhibitions in Japan and the United States, as well as exhibiting in many group shows. Last year, miniatures of his large-scale pieces were included in The Size of Thoughts at White Conduit Projects, an exhibition that brought together works no larger than 30cm in any direction by 50 sculptors and contemporary jewellers.

The Art School’s residency programme provides generous studio space and access to specialist facilities to early and mid-career artists, who in return share their practice insights with students studying on the undergraduate and postgraduate Fine Art and Carving programmes. The artists selected for the 2020 residency programme will be announced soon.

Ornamental Woodcarving alumna (2015), Clunie Fretton, has recently completed the restoration of the Master’s Chair of the Joiners & Ceilers Company. Here she describes the complex project and explains how she approached the in-depth research, design and carving required to replace the missing elements of the intricate design, whilst minimising any indications that the chair had been restored.

“The restoration of the Master’s Chair of the Joiners & Ceilers Company posed an exciting challenge (Figure 1). The chair, on long-term loan to the Victoria & Albert Museum, was made in 1754 by Edward Newman, a Past Master and talented cabinetmaker and carver, and gifted to the Company. It possesses carving and design of a distinctive flair and aptitude, and marries very elegantly the two concerns of the Joiners & Ceilers, who as a livery are responsible for both joinery and carving, the latter at times conflated with panellers under the archaic word “ceiler”.

The chair, constructed from mahogany, has survived in remarkably good condition with very few significant losses from the ornately carved and pierced back despite its many years of service. However, the apex of the chair-back had seen more substantial losses, most notably the loss of a whole finial on the right hand side of the chair, and a number of heraldic elements from the coat of arms figured in full relief in the middle, and it was agreed that these missing elements detracted enough from the silhouette and impact of the chair to warrant their replacement.

Figure 1. The chair after restoration (Photography by Clunie Fretton)

It was particularly important during the restoration to reduce the ambiguity of any replacements. This was more easily achieved in the case of the missing leaf tips, as the acanthus style of ornament has a predictable design, in addition to there being a surplus of reference material in the carved chair-back itself. The task was made easier by the hints left in the way the carving had been undercut, as the decisions of the original carver left clues as to how the missing carving would have continued up from the breaks if one were to follow the curves to their conclusions. The missing finial, of course, could be copied directly from its mirror on the opposite side of the chair, barring a missing leaf tip at the top.

The replacement of the heraldic elements posed a greater challenge and was the area in which there was the greatest lack of reference material. The content of the missing heraldry is defined very clearly in the blazon – a written description of the coat of arms that leaves no uncertainty as to the devices that are featured – but the execution of the missing elements was more problematic. However, research yielded a copy of Edward Hatton’s  New View of London, published in 1708, in the British Library, and his comprehensive survey of London very handily included descriptions of the Halls and Arms of every Livery Company and, luckily, engravings of many of their coats of arms. Though published just under fifty years before the chair was made, this proved the closest reference image that could be obtained of the coat of arms at that time, and the most contemporary blazon:

“Crest is a Demy-Savage proper holding a Spear Or. Supporters 2 Cupids of the last, the dexter holding a Woman crowned with a Castle, the sinister a Square.”

This thankfully cleared the sometimes muddied record of what the dexter supporter was holding, which had in some references been more akin to a figure of Christ, and clarified her as wearing a mural coronet. The crest, a “Savage”, was shown in the reference image holding a tilting spear, which had in later incarnations developed into a regular spear. The savage motif has also been debated over the years: he is not a true Wild Man of the Woods, as these are usually depicted as extremely hairy, but is more likely to have Silvanus, the Roman God of the Woods, as his inspiration. Silvanus is commonly depicted with a crown of leaves, just as the Joiners & Ceilers’ Crest is, and makes a more understandable choice for a livery company devoted to working timber.

There were in total eleven missing pieces, comprising the arms from the supporters, an arm and head from the crest, the finial, and numerous leaf tips. Work began by modelling in a hard modelling wax, in order to create a removable reference for the new pieces being made and to fine-tune how best the new pieces ought to sit in relation to the old. Small blanks were then cut from Honduran mahogany, with the grain of the wood running in the same direction as on the original.

Carving began on pieces fixed to a piece of board with a hide-glue paper joint, allowing the carving to be held in place and the majority of the waste material removed with reference to the wax models before they were detached from the back board. With some excess material left, the carvings were then offered up to their positions, and the lengthy process of carving away their points of contact began. As it was not possible to remove any original material in order to “make good” the breaks, the new pieces had to be carved to marry up with the oftentimes jagged and uneven breaks.  It was particularly important at this stage to have excess material left, as it allowed the matching of contact points to be made exact before the rest of the carving was completed, in order that on pieces such as the sinister supporter’s arm, the square would sit vertically and at the correct angle. At this stage the small size and awkward shape of the carving demanded that it no longer be fixed or clamped, but held in one hand and carved with the other.

Figure 2. Savage crest with left arm, spear and head restored (Photography by Clunie Fretton)

The carving of the head (Figure 2) proved the greatest challenge due to the paucity of contemporary references. Inspiration was taken from the two supporters, which though carved with great facility also retained something of the uncanny in the proportions and shape of their faces. The broad foreheads and closely clustered features are typical of infants, but some of their unusual look was transposed into the head of the savage to create continuity with the existing carving style.

The finial, by contrast, could be worked more freely (Figure 4). After taking measurements the design was reversed, and carved largely by eye, so as to introduce the natural differences in appearance that occurred across the rest of the chair when the design was originally mirrored.



Figure 3. Restoration in progress. Spring clamp and Kemco platform in use on the sinister supporter (Photography by Clunie Fretton)

With the carving complete, the pieces were glued in place with hide glue bulked with coconut shell powder and microballoons. The clamping of the small and irregularly sized pieces was tricky, and the best solution proved to be using Kemco Impression Compound pressed onto the new carvings in order to create a platform for the spring clamps (Figure 3).

The chair had been French polished after (and over) the breaks, which was removed where it would interfere with the adhesion of the glue. The carvings were then colour-matched to the original using garnet shellac, a very close colour match, adjusted with a minute quantity of lamp black pigment. The additions were then rubbed back to be consistent with the wear on the original, and a small quantity of hard black wax used to smooth the joins where extensive wear of the breaks had rounded their edges. Renaissance Wax provided the top-surface in order to knock back any areas too deep to dull the sheen from the shellac by sanding.”

Figure 4. Comparison of finials: original on the left, restoration on the right (Photography by Clunie Fretton)


I’m grateful to the Worshipful Company of Joiners & Ceilers, Leela Meinertas, Nick Humphrey, and all the members of Furniture Conservation for their support during this project.

This blog is adapted from a version first published in the V&A’s Conservation Journal.

Each second-year student was given an object from Kensal Green Cemetery to examine and conserve during the Autumn and Spring Terms. The objects are all memorial plaques that are stored in the crypt of the Anglican Chapel at the cemetery.

They have been cleaning the objects to remove dust, soot (carbon) deposits, sulphation and other soiling. Consolidating friable areas of stone and carry out any necessary repairs, including fillings. They are also designing and constructing a wooden handling tray that the object can be stored in, to provide protection from handling and damage. In approaching the cleaning of these objects, the aim is to achieve a cohesive clean while also ensuring that the inscription remains as legible as possible because this is central to the significance of the object. On the photographs below you can see the students painting within the lettering with Gamblin colours.


Rian’s gilding module introduces oil gilding, water gilding, verre eglomise, pastiglia (raised gesso), sgraffito (egg tempera scored to reveal underneath layer of burnished gold leaf on a gesso ground), Verre églomisé (reverse glass gilding), textures in gesso, all essential skills in Conservation. To learn these gilding techniques, our first year students are using the moulds of fruit or vegetables that they have created in previous woodcarving, joinery modules and limewood boards. The course provide the opportunity to make a test panel with an array of colours, both traditional and bespoke from a variety of bole suppliers. It is also a chance to learn about colours used during particular periods in decorative art history and the countries that favoured them.



BA (Hons) Conservation Studies alumni Hans Thompson (2013) and Max Malden (2012) and current part-time MA Conservation student (and BA alumna 2015) Kirsty Walsh, featured in a lengthy article in The Observer, published on Sunday 2 February 2020.

The detailed feature explores the recent work of Orbis Conservation, the thriving conservation firm founded by friends and colleagues Hans and Max in 2013, and later employing Kirsty after she graduated from the Art School.

The article’s author, Nell Card, interviews the three conservation experts about their current projects and the sorts of complex issues they tackle when they plan the conservation treatment of the objects in their care.

Their most ambitious and large-scale conservation project to date has been the conservation and restoration of six 19th century wooden figureheads from British naval warships, that will be exhibited in The Box, a gallery and museum due to open during May 2020 in Plymouth. Other significant projects include conservation of Eduardo Paolozzi’s Mosaic in Tottenham Court Road Tube Station and the carved, late Neolithic Calderstones.

Almost all alumni from our Conservation Department find conservation work in the heritage sector.  Our rigorous Conservation syllabus, including art histories and historic decorative and making techniques, conservation ethics and approaches, analysis and reporting plus analytical and conservation scientific processes, fully equips graduates to work on these types of high-profile, historically-significant projects.

We are delighted to announce that clay will be the next material in focus on our Material Matters research programme. A series of exhibitions, workshops, lectures, research and round-table discussions will take place during 2020 and 2021, to investigate the material properties of clay and its relationship with fine art and art histories, historic craft and the conservation of cultural objects.

MA Art & Material Histories ‘Unknowing Clay’ workshop.
Photo credit: Laura White

The Art School’s Materials foyer is currently being renewed and will feature brand new work from some of our current students studying MA Fine Art, BA Historic Carving and BA Conservation; and Artist Woodwork and Decorative Surfaces Fellows. It will also feature alumni and staff work, and archive material exposing the Art School’s long history with clay.

This year’s London Craft Week event on 1 and 2 May 2020, will centre around clay. A series of hands-on, head modelling workshops are planned to run throughout Saturday 2 May and will be led by the Art School’s Sculpture, Modelling & Casting Tutor Kim Amis. And a fascinating exhibition, open on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 May, will explore the origins, applications and types of clay.

Other activities planned during 2020-21 include an ARLIS/UK & Ireland Research Award funded project which will investigate the Art School’s historic creative collaboration with the neighbouring Royal Doulton pottery in the 19th century. Research at the London Metropolitan Archives and Stoke-on-Trent City Archives will explore the symbiosis between arts education and industry in the Victorian era, and gendered activities in both the studio and the workplace.

The Material Matters research programme has previously focused on wood (2017) and pigment (2018-19).

We are interested to hear from you if you are a current City & Guilds of London Art School student or alumni working with clay and would like to be featured on the Material Matters website or in the Material Matters programme. Please email

Follow @materialmatters_cglas for updates on Instagram.

Title image courtesy of Laura White.





The Art & Material Histories students are getting their hands dirty again – this week they are up to their elbows in wet clay at Rochester Square Ceramic Studios in Camden, re-thinking the recently re-popularized but ancient craft of ceramics. Starting from a position of ‘not knowing’ and led by artist and researcher Laura White, the group are exploring without boundaries the rich potential of this earthly material.

Using different processes and clays – throwing, hand building, extruding and casting, using buff, porcelain and terracotta clay, the students are deconstructing the assumptions and ideologies around its craft by challenging not only the material’s behaviour but also their own!

Throughout 2020 and 2021, as part of its Material Matters programme, the Art School is engaging in a multidisciplinary research project investigating Clay through a broad range of artistic, historical and material contexts. For more information about our Material Matters programme and how you could participate in the MA in Art & Material Histories, contact us at

All photographs courtesy of Laura White.


In a recent interdisciplinary collaboration, BA (Hons) Fine Art alumna, Katie Lennard, commissioned alumni from two of the Art School’s specialist courses, to work with her on a roof-top installation in the City of London.

Katie was asked to create a sculpture for an office roof garden and chose to work with Stone Carving alumnus Edgar Ward and BA Conservation alumna, and current MA Conservation student, Miyuki Kajiwara, on the project. The stone sculpture is titled The Texel Stone.


The Texel Stone is carved in Portland Stone, incorporating elements of gilding in gold leaf, and is installed on a bed of Sedum and surrounded by wild flowers, lavender and olive trees. Cobbles edge the garden perimetre. Describing the project, Katie said: “Using 3D scanning, I developed my idea to interpret and enlarge (by around seven times) a shard of slate that I found at the Blue Lagoon in Abereiddy, Pembrokeshire, Wales in 2015.”

The Texel Stone project illustrates the inspiring creativity engendered by the Art School’s unique blend of specialist disciplines. Katie’s experience at the Art School has given her a deeper engagement with art’s materials and their potential. It has also connected her with the skilled makers who helped her realise the installation she designed. “For this commission, I wanted to use valuable, traditional materials and specialist skills to create an object that would evoke mystery and attract wildlife. Naturally, Portland stone was chosen because of its enormous potential and layered connection with London architecture. Had I not studied BA Fine Art Sculpture at the Art School, I would not have known where to start, or who might help me to achieve my vision.”

Katie chose to work with Edgar Ward who she describes as “seamlessly professional” and Miyuki Kajiwara, whose gold leaf gilding “transcends the work entirely“. She also attributes support from Art School Fine Art Tutor Frances Richardson as a positive influence on the work.

Katie tells us: “The piece is now situated about 100 metres from the Gherkin on a private, wild roof garden at the top of an office building and is named after the company who commissioned the work.”

Open days are currently available for the Art School’s Fine Art, Historic CarvingConservation and Art & Material Histories courses and you can book your place online. For more information about The Texel Stone, please contact Katie at


Photos courtesy of Katie Lennard and Helena Pliotis




Clunie Fretton, who graduated from our Ornamental Woodcarving & Gilding Diploma course in 2015 (now revalidated as BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding), has recently completed the restoration of the 1754 Master’s Chair of the Worshipful Company of Joiners & Ceilers, housed in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Furniture Gallery.

Clunie was asked to re-carve the missing heraldic elements and foliage from the back of this intricately carved chair, a process that involved a great deal of research and consideration in order to faithfully restore the undocumented losses. She details the process of restoring the missing carving from the chair on our Historic Carving blog, which goes into greater depth on the method and challenges she faced. Her work also featured in the V&A’s Conservation Journal.

Clunie was the recipient of support from the Worshipful Company of Joiners & Ceilers during her diploma course here at the Art School, and now as a freeman of the company the work on the Master’s Chair has come full circle, having been made by Past Master Edward Newman in 1754 and restored in 2019 by a craftswoman still practising the same trade some 265 years later.

In 2021 Clunie will go on to produce carving for the New Master’s Chair, in commemoration of the 450th Anniversary of the Joiners & Ceilers Company.

The Art School is proud to support this continuity of skills stretching back hundreds of years with its Historic Carving courses. When asked, Clunie said that the Art School had provided her with ‘a strong skill-base from which to grow‘, allowing her to expand her practise into new areas following graduation while still following the traditional history of the craft.

She has since set up a practice, Fretton Handley, with her partner Felix Handley, and they now work on sculptural and restoration projects as a team.

We are well into the delivery of the first year of our brand new MA in Art & Materials Histories course here at the Art School. It’s not only the subject itself which is new, as it draws from contemporary critical thinking and material-based artistic practices, but also the way we are teaching it. We are working with the idea that in order to appropriately engage with new ways of material thinking, we also need to engage in new ways of learning, and the course is proving to be exemplary in this respect.

This week, our students took part in a day-long workshop with artist and researcher Laura White and materials expert, Senior Lecturer in Design at Goldsmiths College and joint founder of UCL’s Institute of Making, Martin Conreen. Blobs of silly Putty, blocks of metal foam, jars of impossibly light Aerogels and Mummy Black pigment and much, much more were handled, played with and critically evaluated in relation to future technologies and artistic practices.

Photo credit: Laura White

Last week, students took part in N16’s Meat & Delicatessen’s organic Poultry and Sausage workshop. Lead by expert butcher Paul Grout we learnt the craft of dissecting and tying a chicken and de-boning meat for the stuffing of Cumberland sausages. Reflecting on the sustainability of the meat industry and the increasing popularity of its alternatives, students worked side-by side with their teaching staff to experience hands-on the pleasures (and for our 2 veggie student’s, challenges) of organic meat preparation.

Photo credit: Laura White
Photo credit: Laura White
Photo credit: Laura White

Next week, our students will be out and about in London’s museums and galleries in order to discover and reflect on artworks material value, shifting status depending on their material context and the constructed narratives around them.

All in all, the course is shaping up to be one of the most innovative and progressive MA’s in contemporary Art History.

To more deeply understand the manufacturing process of historic objects they may be treating as conservators, our first year students develop introductory historic craft skills employed by master craftsmen for centuries. This workshop focuses on bas relief modelling in clay – one of the primary processes in casting, moulding and wood and stone carving.

During the session, students gain experience of transcribing a two-dimensional image into relief form. The depth of the relief is decided by the peer group during the workshop.

The casting process learned in the first term should be sufficient to enable students to produce a silicone rubber mould and a plaster positive cast in self-directed time.


The Art School has been operating as an independent not-for-profit Higher Education provider with charitable status since 1971, with educational activities governed by the Board of Trustees of the charitable company – City & Guilds of London Art School Ltd.

Thanks to the generous support of Nurole Recruitment the City & Guilds of London Art School Ltd has appointed a number of new Trustees in 2019:

Dr Virginia Brooke
Gabrielle Gbadamosi
James Kelly
Michael Osbaldeston
Professor Elizabeth Rouse

Additionally, the Board’s first staff Trustee, Senior Stone Carving Tutor Nina Bilbey, was appointed for a term of two years, the second student Trustee, Jyoti Bharwani Chair of Students, was appointed for a term of a year, and Art School Principal, Tamiko O’Brien was appointed as Ex Officio Trustee for the duration of her employment.

The Art School is currently partnering with Nurole Recruitment to appoint a new Chair of the Board of Trustees.

We are delighted to announce that our Summer School 2020 is now open for bookings!

New for 2020, our Summer School programme will run over a three-week period from 6 July – 24 July 2020, with extra dates added for our most indemand courses – Stone Carving for Beginners, Introduction to Ornamental Woodcarving and Gilding and Verre Églomisé.

A 10% early bird discount is available until 6pm on Friday 3 January 2020, giving those who want to learn new craft skills, or develop existing ones, the opportunity to use the Christmas break to secure a place on their favourite course for a reduced fee.

Our 3-5 day Summer courses focus on the Art School’s specialisms of contemporary fine art, historic crafts and conservation, and include observational life drawing; wood and stone carving; gilding; relief modelling in clay; etching and conservation of historic objects. All our courses are suitable for beginners, and some of them are good for those with some experience too.

Participants make use of our specialist facilities and benefit from small class sizes and expert tutors who are all practising professionals.

Feedback from previous students has been positive with many participants praising the course tutors for their excellent support and the stimulating course content, level and structure.

I loved it and found it very useful. Great to be back at school learning something new with a great teacher and fun people.’  Ingibjorg – Gilding and Verre Églomisé

Tom was a superb tutor. Prodigiously skilful, ever patient and remarkably concise.’  Sam – Lettering in Stone

Excellent course well taught by an expert in her field. Lovely and patient teacher and great access to tools and materials.’  Lydia – Introduction to Ornamental Woodcarving

Thanks to the generosity of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, a number of grant-funded places are available to young people aged 18-25, on certain courses. The grant scheme is aimed at engaging young people with historic crafts, specifically facilitating the participation of those who would otherwise be unable to fund their place.

Eligible courses are Behind the Scenes with the Conservators, Bas Relief Modelling in Clay, Introduction to Ornamental WoodcarvingGilding and Verre Églomisé,  Lettering in Stone and Stone Carving for Beginners. 

Anyone interested in applying for a grant-funded place can email

For the full Summer School 2020 programme please click here.



The Board of the City & Guilds of London Art School are seeking to appoint a new Chair following the retirement of Robin Holland-Martin, who chaired the Art School over a significant period in its development with great success. Laurence Benson is currently interim Chair during the recruitment and appointment period before returning to his previous position as Deputy Chair.

The Art School is specialist offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Conservation, Fine Art and Historic Carving as well as a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design. It has a reputation for a very high standard of student work, quality of teaching, generous studio spaces and a high level of student satisfaction. The Art School, while small with circa 240 students, makes a significant contribution to culture and heritage through championing endangered subjects and a focus on the dialogues between the eye, hand, material and intellect.

The Art School is in a crucial phase in its history with new course initiatives and major developments planned for its historic site over the next five years. Our specialist offer is soon to be expanded with a new BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper, following the closure of MA Conservation at Camberwell College of Arts, UAL, and a development project to support this and other projects is ongoing.

The Art School is a charitable company, governed by a Board of Trustees.

We are advertising for this post through Nurole, and a link to the details on their website and how to apply is available here

Please note that it may take up to 20 seconds for the Nurole posting to fully upload.

If you have any queries about this role please email Tamiko O’Brien, the Art School’s Principal, directly on 


As part of the annual Venice trip in November 2019, the group of second year Conservation students visited the 16th Century Canton ​Synagogue at the heart of the world’s first ghetto with Art School Conservation Tutor, Jennifer Dinsmore, who gave the students fascinating insights into this impressive building with complex conservation challenges.

The Canton Synagogue was founded in 1532 and completely restored in late baroque period. The Jewish Museum of Venice, situated next to it, is a little but very rich museum founded in 1953 by the Jewish Community of Venice.

The precious objects shown to the public, which include important examples of goldsmith and textile manufacture made between the 16th and the 19th centuries, are a lively witnessing of the Jewish tradition.  Furthermore, the museum offers a wide selection of ancient books and manuscripts and some objects used in the most important moments of the cycle of civil and religious life.


Whilst we were visiting the Synagogue, we were lucky to watch the live Conservation of the terrazzo floor, a composite material using various stones such as marble, quartz, granite set in mortar, at the 16th-century Schola Grande Tedesca.



Each year the Conservation Department hosts a Winter Party and it is a lovely occasion. This year it took place on Wednesday 4 December welcoming influencers in the industry, collaborators and partners of the Department, owners of objects being conserved, donors to conservation, Trustees and alumni.

This is a great opportunity to thank Conservation Department donors and supporters, object owners and industry collaborators. We celebrate the excellent work of our Conservation students and expert tutors, showcasing conservation training of the highest standard.





Miyuki Kajwara (current MA Conservation student) and Jonida Mecani (2019 BA Conservation alumna) have recently spent two months on San Giorgio Maggiore, a small island off Venice, after being selected to take part in a two-month, fully-funded internship at the Abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore. This initiative is supported by Venice in Peril, a fund dedicated to conserving Venice’s architectural heritage and treasures.

Miyuki and Jonida have been living and eating with the small community of Benedictine monks at the Abbey, whilst carrying out a conservation project to clean a series of stone sculptures around the inner walls of one of the entrances in Palladio’s Church. This has been a fantastic opportunity to work at a world-famous site with complex conservation requirements.

During our annual Venice trip in November 2019, we visited the two interns who introduced us to the work they have been carrying out and also showed us the wooden choir that was the focus of the previous year’s Venice in Peril interns, alumni Catherine Grey and Olivia McIlvenny. Their brief was to monitor the evolution of the corrosive insect infestation in the wooden carvings and present a detailed conservation report to officials at the Church with recommendations on how to conserve the ornate work.



We are delighted to announce the BASET and City & Guilds of London Art School: Endeavour Award – Funding to Study Conservation in London.

To be awarded to an Australian national to study on the Art School’s three-year BA (Hons) Conservation: Stone, Wood & Decorative Surfaces or BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper course enrolling in Autumn 2020.

The Britain-Australia Society Education Trust (BASET) and City & Guilds of London Art School have come together to offer financial support to a talented and deserving person with a passion for conservation. The successful applicant will demonstrate a willingness to commit to an intensive course that is carefully structured to enable development of the knowledge and skills needed to undertake a professional career in the conservation and heritage industry. Together we aim to select a student to study and train in London in order to increase those skills and to share knowledge and ideas -ultimately taking those skills home to continue their work while building valuable links between our two countries.


Current Endeavour Award Recipient:

Joint funding from BASET and City & Guilds of London Art School has provided an opportunity for me to retrain for a career in conservation. As a result, I will return home to Australia equipped with the specialist knowledge, skills and experience to forge a successful career.


We are two great nations with strong connections and a mutual desire to promote, maintain, preserve and conserve historical objects, artefacts and creative trades. BASET provides financial sponsorship where it “makes the difference” to support these talented young people, both for the benefit of themselves, both countries and society as a whole.

Value: £8,000 per year towards full time International student fees of £14,750 per year of study.

Duration: Three years

Application: Australian nationals offered a place on one of the Art School’s two BA (Hons) Conservation courses are invited to apply for this award.

Details: The award is for three years of study, and will be paid directly towards tuition fees. The applicant recognises that some additional funding from personal sources will be required and that transport, visa and living costs are the responsibility of the applicant. The successful applicant must provide regular updates and will produce annual end of academic year reports. They will be invited to be part of the BASET community during their time in the UK.

Click HERE for more information about our Conservation BA (Hons) programme or to discuss an application to the course contact


The annual Venice trip is an educational tour of the famous city of Venice attended by second year BA Conservation students, Historic Carving students and those studying MA Art & Material Histories.

As reported in a recent news article, our 2019 Venice trip in November coincided with the worst flooding in Venice for many years. Despite the logistical challenges that came with the high tides, we were still able to complete the majority of our itinerary and witnessing first-hand the destruction caused by the water emphasised to us the fragility of the unique treasure that is Venice.

Here are some of the highlights of the trip.

We started with an introduction to the layout of the City and its relationship to the Molo, the Piazzetta and the Piazza San Marco, focusing on the external tour of the buildings of the Piazza San Marco; the cultural, religious and governmental centre of the city, which boasts structures built in the full range of architectural periods –

  • The Byzantine Basilica, with Gothic additions
  • The Doge’s Palace; Gothic
  • The Torre Dell Orologio; Early Renaissance
  • The Sansovino Library and Logetta; High (or Roman) Renaissance

We toured the exterior of the buildings of the Piazza San Marco; the cultural, religious and governmental centre of the city. The Doge’s Palace is Byzantine, a Gothic, and Renaissance Palace and seat of government. We learnt how history was mythologised in praise of the State.


This was followed by an independent visit to Museo Correre and Biblioteca Marciana, San Marco, Museum of the History of Venice. The collection of classical sculpture was very interesting. The interior of Sansovino’s Library was also well worth seeing.


We visited the Canton ​Synagogue at the heart of the world’s first ghetto with Art School Conservation Tutor, Jennifer Dinsmore, who gave the students fascinating insights into this impressive building with complex conservation challenges.

We were lucky to watch the live Conservation of the terrazzo floor, a composite material using various stones like marble, quartz, granite set in mortar, at the 16th-century Schola Grande Tedesca.


After a walking tour focusing on the Early Renaissance in Venice Gateway to the Arsenale, we visited the Basilica San Marco, the legendary location of the body of St Mark, the patron Saint of Venice. This is a fully Byzantine building, internally covered in mosaic. Externally it is elaborated with a Gothic ornamental scheme. The tutors led a discussion of past conservation treatments, their approaches and impacts, and we viewed a recent conservation project in the Basilica.

Following a visit to Chiesa di San Trovaso, displaying relief carvings by the Bon family and paintings by Tintoretto, we went to the Church of San Pantalon, where we were all amazed by the world’s largest painting on canvas on the ceiling.

We passed through the commercial centre of the city around the Rialto and its markets, and circled the east side of Venice, taking the vaporetto to Murano. We explored this small island famed for its glass blowing workshops, and visiting the Santa Maria e San Donato.


As well as exploring some of Venice’s most significant and spectacular buildings and monuments, the students also attended a range of lectures given by the Art School’s Conservation, Historic Carving and Art Histories Tutors who accompanied us on the trip.

The lectures included an historical overview of Venetian architecture, which is unique due to the city’s location and close trade links with the East. This lecture was delivered by Head of Historic Carving Tim Crawley,  who also gave a lecture on Venetian sculpture and carving, which ranges in style from Classical to Baroque.

Conservation Tutor, Jennifer Dinsmore (an expert in stone conservation), gave a lecture on the construction and topography of Venice, focusing on the development of the city and the environmental and human challenges it faces today. Jennifer also gave a presentation about Venice’s unique conservation issues, looking at practical, technological, strategic and resourcing risks as well as funding and politics.

At the end of the 5-day trip, we learnt about the conservation work being undertaken by alumna Jonida Mecani and MA student Miyuki Kajiwara, who were both selected to take part in a two-month conservation internship on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, where they are conserving the stone statues around the inner walls of one of the entrances of Palladio’s Church. The conservation placement is organised annually in collaboration with Venice in Peril and gives two outstanding graduates the opportunity to undertake a conservation project in this remarkable environment.


We left Venice having learnt an enormous amount about its unique and complex conservation requirements, and with our thoughts still with our Venetian colleagues and friends and the reparation challenges to come.


Saena studied ornamental woodcarving and gilding at the Art School and after graduating set up a studio, working as a self-employed carver and gilder. In 2007 Saena returned to the City & Guilds of London Art School as a woodcarving tutor in the Conservation and Carving Departments and she also teaches at the Building and Crafts College.

Saena has worked within both the traditional and contemporary sectors including the Tower of London, New College and Oriel College in Oxford, Penguin Books, Kopparberg and Guinness.


My work explores time, memory, experience and space. Work manifests through and intimate understanding of my upbringing and surroundings, in affinity to childhood memory and Northern Irish identity. I seek to blur the boundaries of space, public and private, focusing on the urban and domestic. My cathartic means of working displays a time that once was, or never has been. As Fictions emerge through repressed memories, dreams and encounters of stories as images. Narrative is constructed through 2D and 3D objects, prints and installation. Time is reactivated, and there is a re-enactment of experiences. Concepts of austerity, conflict and identity within the work relate beyond my own experience and to a wider social and cultural context. My work is a response. I use my own experience as a means to retell and to break down barriers.

My practice is rooted in the figurative. My aim is to create an atmosphere at once exuberant and humorous but at the same time, one of disquiet.  I am increasingly interested in exploring parallels between the human and natural worlds, seeking shared patterns, thereby emphasising that we are essentially part of the world of matter, and no more.

My work utilises contemporary carpentry to build monuments that merge the architectural and design styles of historic political hegemonies with contemporary consumer aesthetics (particularly those from fitness, wellbeing, and ergonomics). The idea being that if we can see ergonomic detailing as filigree – which is a conscious extravagance rather than a performance enhancing, engineering necessity- then the scientistic parlance of this industry becomes more open to interpretation or appropriation, and less authoritative. In order to mimic the visual language of ergonomics, I often take patterns found in grips for razors, toothbrushes, or trainer soles, and recreate them in much more pronounced positions.

Information on a particular climate, time, environment and more can be taken from a tree. It seems as if the tree acts as a bookmark for the inner workings of the earth.

In woodworking processes, the additive and subtractive qualities are of interest to me, as are the labour, devotion and communal aspect of woodworking.

I collect images, memories and objects and use them as influences in my practice, making unexpected associations to create a fiction in its own right. My work is informed by the processes of hybridisation and the mistranslations that happen when elements from one culture travel and adapt to a new one. I make installations where I use smell, paintings, and sculptures made of wood, polystyrene and plaster, painted to look like different surfaces. I like drawing connections between everyday materials, especially processed meats and stone, as they have a similar type of conglomerate composition.

Embedded in the processes through which I make and think is a fascination with the material properties of things. These accumulate into a mass of material objects and a variety of critical ideas. I pursue a tactile, affective, object-driven process, methodically exploring the material itself, flirting with language and investigating what things are in essence, or what they might become. The works are like material propositions; they occupy a physical space in the process of becoming something else.

I am a multidisciplinary artist who produces visual representations of my dyslexia when faced with sequential information. Creating physical manifestations of how I process written and verbal language, I use the illustrative metanarrative of Greek mythology. Analysing these written stories, I select words that embed in my mind and that defy my lack of working memory. I signify these words by using motifs, signs, and an alphabet of shapes that weave in and out a structure’s clasp. The shapes hint at broken and suspended connections, existing as floating silhouettes that create illusionary depth.

We are delighted to announce that five Art School Fine Art alumni were shortlisted for the Ingram Collection’s Young Contemporary Talent Purchase Prize this year!

The winners of the Purchase Prize were announced on Friday 8 November, with Alvin Ong, Lucy Gregory and Emma Prempeh taking the top awards. Congratulations to the winners and all those shortlisted!

Roberta de Caro (BA (Hons) Fine Art 2019 and current MA Art & Material Histories student), Flora Malpas (MA Fine Art 2018), Jane Hayes Greenwood (BA (Hons) Fine Art 2011, MA Fine Art 2015), Abigail Phang Gung Fook (MA Fine Art 2017) and Bislacchi (Matteo Santacroce) (BA (Hons) Fine Art 2017), are amongst the 24 artists who were selected for the shortlist, which also included recent graduates from the Royal College of Art, Goldsmiths and Chelsea College of Arts.

From top left: Roberta de Caro; Flora Malpas; Jane Hayes Greenwood; Abigail Phang Gung Fook; Bislacchi (Matteo Santacroce).

City & Guilds of London Art School Fine Art alumni have been one of the three winners of the Ingram Collection Purchase Prize for the last two years running – Benedict Hughes in 2018 and Harrison Pearce in 2017.

Benedict Hughes -‘My Magna Mater Complex’ ; Harrison Pearce – ‘Interview (Prototype)’

The Young Contemporary Talent Purchase Prize aims to support emerging artists at the start of their career and is open to all artists who have graduated from a UK art school in the past five years. Jo Baring, Director and Curator of The Ingram Collection has said that “This year’s exhibition is a particularly vibrant offering.”.

We extend a huge congratulations to all five shortlisted alumni!


This joinery and woodcarving workshop for our first year Conservation students, was run by Tutors Peter Bennett and Sarah Davis. The workshop is designed to teach the students how to observe and replicate ornament in an exacting way in order to prepare them for reproducing ornament that may be missing from an object they are conserving.

Firstly the students learnt to model and draw the ornament so they can produce an exact template to place on the wood they’re carving.  They were taught how to employ specialist tools and machinery and how to use them safely and effectively.

Then they focused on understanding the grain of the wood and which direction to carve it, swiftly followed by learning and developing a range of carving techniques. Not bad for one session!

The workshop was followed by an afternoon trip to the V&A to look at various examples of woodcarving and the different application of the skills the students learnt in the morning.

There are many synergies like this between the historic craft courses we teach at the Art School. In this case, our Historic Carving Department provided the expertise, tools and facilities we needed to give our Conservation students a fantastic grounding in ornamental woodcarving.



As part of the Big Draw Festival, on Saturday 26 October 2019, the Art School ran a charcoal drawing workshop centred around the study of plants.  The theme of the Big Draw Festival was ‘Wellbeing and Creativity’ and so our event, entitled ‘The Power of Plants’, focused on the positive effects of both creativity and plants on our wellbeing.

Participants were invited to bring along their favourite house plant and take time out to focus on the patterns and forms in nature, under the expert guidance of Fine Art Tutor and Artist Jane Hayes Greenwood.

The workshop attracted participants with varied experience and involvement in art practice, with one attendee saying, “It’s really nice to be able to attend events like this which are open to the public, as I’m not an art student or work with anything related to art.” Comments from other participants included praise for the Tutor’s attentive teaching style,  welcoming the opportunity to work with an accomplished artist, “The tutor was warm and engaging, she made us feel welcome and unintimidated. She shared new approaches and techniques and allowed us to experiment with these.”  

Artist and Fine Art Tutor, Jane Hayes-Greenwood supporting class participants

Even a brief amount of time spent on a creative pastime has powerful benefits for personal wellbeing. The psychological benefits of indoor plants have been shown to include improved mood, reduced stress, increased productivity and attention span. The physical health benefits include better air quality, reduced blood pressure and fatigue.

This is the second consecutive year that the Art School has participated in the Big Draw Festival.  Last year, the Art School ran a Big Circle Draw class, a traditional drawing class with a twist! Led by Fine Art Tutor and artist, Jack Southern, a group of Art School students and alumni sat in a large circle. With a continuing series of short exercises, each artist took it in turn to play model and every drawing produced by the circle was captured digitally to form an animation that grew as the afternoon continued.

Artist and Fine Art Tutor, Jack Southern, leads the Big Circle Draw workshop

Drawing is fundamental to all courses at the Art School. Under the direction of Diane Magee, our Drawing Studio is at the heart of the Art School’s activities, primarily focusing on the role that observational drawing plays in stimulating and facilitating the development of artists and crafts specialists across our Foundation Diploma and undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses in Fine Art, Historic Carving, Conservation of cultural objects and books and paper, and Art and Material Histories.

We hope to take part in The Big Draw in the future – you can find out more information about our upcoming events here.


This September our 3rd years and recently graduated BA student Anna Ng spent 2 weeks in the prestigious Palace of Westminster in a frame workshop with tutor Gerry Alabone in collaboration with the Courtauld Institute for Easel Paintings.


This week and next our new first years are aiming to finish carved object in stone. The object should be a good representation of the original cast, though it is not expected to be an exact copy – it should have its own character and the individual marks of the maker. This module is designed to introduce students to the basic techniques of carving a three-dimensional object in stone. Using a supplied cast, accurate plan drawings are made on a grid and the drawing is transferred to a piece of supplied limestone with carbon paper. Introduction to carving – Looking at the techniques of carving stone. An explanation of tool use is given and the Limestone is carved with supplied chisels and mallets. Tool sharpening is explained.


Our 1st year students have started this week with Plaster Cast taught by the wonderful Kim Amis. They have been casting all sort of interesting shaped vegetable or piece of fruit, like miniature pumpkins, broccoli, peppers, bananas, apples and pears.

The purpose of the six-day project is to understand clay, plasters, plaster bandage, alginate, and silicone rubbers as raw materials and their relevance to professional moulding and casting. All plaster casts produced during the six-day casting block will be suitable subject matter for the gilding project to follow. In addition to handout sheets, students produce their own daily notes that are compiled and presented as a process log on completion of the project.


Artist and academic John Wigley, has been made an Art School Fellow, an honorary, lifelong title which celebrates significant contributions made to the Art School by an external person, usually through achievements in art, craft, heritage or materiality and/or education or pedagogy.

The Art School Board of Trustees and Senior Management Team chose to award the title to John in recognition of his contribution to the progress of the Art School in his role as validating body Link Tutor at Birmingham City University. In its previous incarnation as  University of Central England, Birmingham City University was the first validating body to validate the Art School’s Fine Art Painting and Sculpture BA (Hons) degrees in 1997 and Conservation BA (Hons) degree in 1998, consolidating the Art School’s position as a centre of excellence for teaching contemporary fine art and the conservation of cultural artefacts.  All BA (Hons) and MA degrees at the Art School are now validated by Ravensbourne University London.

Graduating in Fine Art from Reading University, the Royal College of Art and the British School of Rome, John’s career as an artist and lecturer has involved national and international exhibitions and exchanges in both Europe and America. Employing an understated humour, his work tracks his life journey from the South of England, to the North and finally to the Midlands, and his fundamental quest to understand the meaning of belonging and the purpose of existence. John is currently an Associate Professor in Birmingham School of Art, Birmingham City University and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

John was presented with the honorary title at the recent MA Fine Art Prize-Giving and Celebration afternoon, by Head of Fine Art, Robin Mason, where he shared his delight at being part of the Art School’s creative community and praised the Art School’s dedication to supporting students to excel in contemporary art, craft and conservation, remarking that the work that went on behind the Art School’s quiet façade was truly remarkable.

The successes of our MA Fine Art students were celebrated yesterday in the Prize-Giving and Celebration event held at the Art School, which was followed by the Private View of the MA Fine Art Show. The Show remains open every day this week until 5pm on Sunday 15 September.

Principal, Tamiko O’Brien, addressing the graduands and guests

After the proceedings were opened with congratulations from Art School Principal, Tamiko O’Brien, MA Fine Art students Lucienne O’Mara and Madeleine Yuille addressed the graduands and spoke warmly about the strong, supportive community of fellow students and tutors at the Art School and their sadness and reluctance to leave it behind. They paid tribute to Wendy Saunders who was studying on the MA course when she tragically passed away earlier this year.  Fine Art Tutor, Reece Jones also remembered Wendy and presented her family with her MA Fine Art (aegrotat). Wendy’s work is included in the Show.

Lucienne O’Mara and Madeleine Yuille (MA Fine Art 2019)

Head of Fine Art, Robin Mason and MA Fine Art, Senior Tutor, Teresita Dennis, presented the MA Fine Art graduates with letters of congratulations, and Director of the Art School Property Trust, Magnus von Wistinghausen, announced the winners of the MA prizes and awards. Scroll down for the full list of winners.

L-R: Robin Mason congratulating Hugo Flores and Geraldine van Heemstra (MA Fine Art 2019); Magnus von Wistinghausen presenting Charlotte Osborne (MA Fine Art 2019) with the City & Guilds of London Art School Prize for Outstanding Work in Print prize.

Student Eleanor Watson won the coveted ACS City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Prize, which was presented to her by Kimberley Ahmet, Senior Manager at Artists’ Collecting Society. This prize recognises a graduating MA Fine Art student for excellence in their MA Show presentation. The award consists of funding towards the cost of renting a studio for the year following graduation, with any fund remaining awarded to the student as a stipend. The prize also includes membership to ACS and a one-year subscription to Bridgeman Studio.

Kimberley Ahmet, Senior Manager at Artists’ Collecting Society

International artist Gray Wielebinski, one of our three 2019 artists in residence who are all exhibiting current work as part of the MA Show, spoke to the graduates and their guests about how much they have enjoyed working alongside the MA students, as part of our thriving community, and highlighted the special and unique atmosphere of creative endeavour at the Art School. Gray is looking forward to a residency at Casa de Dona Laura in Portugal funded by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and has upcoming exhibitions at Lychee One in London and Organon in Odense, Denmark during this month.

Gray Wielebinski, Artist in Residence 2019

Artist and academic John Wigley, was presented with the lifelong title of Art School Fellow, which celebrates significant contributions made to the Art School by an external person, usually through achievements in art, craft, heritage or materiality and/or education or pedagogy.  The Art School Board of Trustees and Senior Management Team chose to award the title to John in recognition of his contribution to the progress of the Art School in his role at Birmingham City University, which first validated the Art School’s Fine Art and Conservation degrees.

John Wigley, Art School Fellow

Following the afternoon of celebrations, guests enjoyed viewing the outstanding work displayed throughout the exhibition, and at 6pm the doors of the Art School were opened to welcome visitors to the bustling Private View, which continued until later in the evening. The MA Fine Art Show continues until 5pm on Sunday 15 September, and is well worth visiting to view the impressive and diverse contemporary fine art made by our 15 graduating MA Fine Art students, 8 first year MA Fine Art students, 3 artists in residence, 3 Fellows and 1 Chair of Students!




The Norman Ackroyd Prize for Etching – Geraldine van Heemstra

The ACS City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Prize – Eleanor Watson

The Astor Materials Prize (for an ongoing part-time MA student) – Ian Ryan

The Tony Carter Award – Lucienne O’Mara

City & Guilds of London Art School MA Prize for Outstanding Critical Engagement – Charlotte Osborne

City & Guilds of London Art School Prize for Outstanding MA Fine Art Exhibition – Hugo Flores

City & Guilds of London Art School Prize for Outstanding Work in Print – Charlotte Osborne 

The Slaughterhaus Print Studio Prize – Eleanor Watson

The three years I spent in the carving department at City & Guilds of London Art School were some of my happiest times. Before enrolling at the Art School I was a working stonemason, with a few years training under my belt and a degree in fine art, but I had very little confidence in my abilities.

My education in the craft had been a little haphazard, I carried out an informal apprenticeship in stone masonry, with a fair amount of learning on the job, which meant that most of the time I felt as though I was ‘winging’ it. Thankfully I had a good background in letter carving which opened my eyes to what a thorough education in craft can feel like.

When learning a practical skill such as carving there are two stages to the education process. Firstly you have to educate your mind and your eyes so you understand what it actually is that you’re looking at and what you’re trying to achieve. Secondly you have to learn the physical skill of transferring your knowledge through your hands, creating what your mind now understands.

The carving course delivered a perfect balance of these two elements. This was done through art history, life drawing, anatomy, drawing, modelling, carving, museum visits and walking tours around London. I now have every confidence that my eyes are trustworthy and my knowledge is sound, and that my hands have the skill to make whatever I imagine.

That is a truly wonderful feeling and is the part of the Art School’s fantastic teaching, which I carry with me every day and apply to everything I do.

Since graduating in 2016, I have been working as a self-employed carver. I have been able to balance my work between private commission and my own practice. I was fortunate enough to present work to His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei, the British High Commissioner in Brunei, members of the Royal Warrant Holders Association as well as local schools and businesses. I am a British brand ambassador for John Smedley (2019-2020), with a film of my work shown in the window of Harvey Nichols in October 2019. I have also been featured in the Essential magazine.

I currently have work in an exhibition in London, and I’m working towards a solo show next year. Whilst I love working in my own studio, I really miss the Art School and my carving department family.

Read more about Zoe here.

What really stayed with you from your time at the Art School?

Two things really stayed with me after graduating. The first was having found a real sense of community at the Art School; it is a very special place for a multitude of reasons but, in an age of increasing technological growth, the school is not only swimming against the current, but making it’s own path. I remember on my first day being surprised that I had found so many people as passionate about carving as I was, and who were equally happy to talk about the subject for hours on end! Having now graduated, I am constantly amazed at how many people I meet in the industry who trained at the Art School. It forms an instant connection and also a sense of respect, as the course is so highly regarded.

The other thing that has stayed with me is how much I learnt and progressed over the three years. The one-to-one tutorship from professional carvers is fantastic and really helps you develop. There is real encouragement to push yourself to the absolute best of your abilities.

What projects were you involved in while studying at the Art School?

Whilst at the Art School I took on a number of exciting projects, particularly in my second and final year. The Art School are great about encouraging you to take on commissions for your final year, which not only gives you valuable experience in dealing with clients, but also helps your bank balance.

I was asked to produce a memorial plaque for the memorial hall in my home village in Kent for the centenary of World War One. The famous war poet, Siegfried Sassoon, grew up in the village and so we decided to use the last line from his popular Aftermath poem for the inscription as well as copying his signature. The work was unveiled in 2018 during a memorial service.

One very fun project was being asked by the Royal College of Arms to produce the new heraldic crest for Roald Dahl’s grandson, which depicted the Roly Poly bird from the much loved books sat atop a circlet of medieval clouds. Being a big fan of Roald Dahl’s work, it was a real honour to make this crest, but also a good challenge as the client wanted the bird to appear in motion.

What are you up to now?

I’ve just finished a year of working at the Houses of Parliament, specifically on Westminster Hall, helping to restore the incredible medieval roof and angels inside. To go straight from the Art School into this type of work was a wonderful opportunity, particularly learning how to carve onsite and all of the challenges that come with that.

I now have a workshop in London for the summer and am happy to be back focusing on building my own carving business,  working on commissions for private clients. In the near future my wife and I will be moving out of London to set up base in the South West, where I hope to one day begin running short courses in carving alongside my own work. I’ve always loved working with people, and am keen to share this great craft with others.


The Art School is once again taking part in Lambeth Heritage Festival with a historical walk around the Art School, exploring 138 years of creative endeavour.

The event takes place on Saturday 14 September 2019, 12 noon, and is led by Magnus von Wistinghausen, Director of City & Guilds Art School Property Trust. Those taking part will tour the Georgian terrace and Victorian Studios and learn about our history of championing fine art, historic wood and stone carving and the conservation of cultural artefacts.

The Historical Walk takes place during our MA Fine Art Show, 7 -15 September, where visitors can admire an outstanding variety and quality of artwork, that reflects the diversity of skill and technique fostered on the Fine Art programme at the Art School.

This is a free event and participants do not need to book. Anyone interested in taking this wonderful opportunity to glimpse behind the scenes of a real art school and learn its fascinating past, should arrive at the main entrance in preparation for a prompt start at 12 noon.

DATE:  Saturday 14 September 2019

TIME:  12 noon

VENUE: City & Guilds of London Art School, 124 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4DJ


The City & Guilds of London Art School 2019 MA Show opens on Saturday 7 September and runs until Sunday 15 September, with the Private View on Monday 9 September, 6-9pm. Full dates and times are below. Entry is free and everyone is welcome to visit.

Images L-R: Ema Mano Epps, States of Being; Raen Barnsley, IRL Yellow; Eleanor Watson, Scope (installation view); Nick Paton,  Attle’s luck:  Laura Hudson, The Baby Jesus in a Hazmat Suit

Set within the atmospheric exhibiting environment of the Art School’s historic buildings, the MA Show features an outstanding variety and quality of work, reflecting the diversity of skill and technique fostered at the Art School.

The MA Fine Art show is the culmination of an intense period of study and development over one and two years. Major shifts in working practices, critical dialogues and new discoveries in materials and methods are all present in the work of our 15 graduating students: Raen Barnsley, Joe Bucklow, Ema Mano Epps, Hugo Flores, Rachel Goodison, Geraldine van Heemstra, Laura Hudson, Ru Knox, Verde Cordero Di Montezemolo, Lucienne O’Mara, Charlotte Osborne, Nick Paton, Eleanor Watson, Tracy Whitehead, and Maddie Yuille.  The Art School will be presenting a selection of small paintings by Wendy Saunders (founder of Paint Lounge), who was studying on the MA course when she sadly passed away earlier this year.

The exhibition will also feature the work of the 2019 artists in residence, Alastair Gordon, Gray Wielebinski and Taku Obata who will exhibit alongside the Artist Woodwork Fellows, James Boman and Ana Kazaroff,  Decorative Surfaces Fellow, Polly Bennett and Chair of Students 2018/19, Clare Dudeney (MA Fine Art 2018), as well as an interim show by the MA Fine Art first year: Stephen Bell, Jyoti Bharwani, Clare Davidson, Suki Jobson, Lindsay Pickett, Ian Ryan, Alexandra Sivov, and Graham Treadwell.


With thanks to Winsor & Newton for their support of the exhibition.

Visitors to the MA Show, may also be interested in taking part in an historical walk around our Georgian and Victorian buildings on 14 September, 12 noon, as part of the Lambeth Heritage Festival, no booking required.

Mon 9 Sept 18:00 – 21:00

Sat 7 Sept  10:00 – 17:00
Tue 10 Sept 12:00 – 17:00
Wed 11 Sept 12:00 – 17:00
Thurs 12 Sept 12:00 – 17:00
Fri 13 Sept 12:00 – 17:00
Sat 14 Sept 10:00 – 17:00
Sun 15 Sept 10:00 – 17:00


City & Guilds of London Art School
124 Kennington Park Road
London SE11 4DJ


Paint is employed in a myriad of styles to create a body of work that enthrals and challenges the viewer. In Eleanor Watson’s work, diminutive oil paintings are hung over monoprints that reflect a sense of heritage and the English stately home, and suggest notions of escape and Empire.

Lucienne O’Mara uses oil on wooden constructs to look closely at perception, the fractured way in which we receive visual information, and the impossibility of being separate from what you encounter both visually and as a body.

In Maddie Yuille’s painting, moments of noticing are re-created in which interior scenes, devoid of people, become enlivened by the light falling within them. A heightened colour palette, applied in thin transparent layers to allow the white ground of the canvas to shine through, create a perfect translucency.

Laura Hudson uses visual derivé to sift through the mess of our times. Moving between drawing and painting lines are visible and metamemorial iconographies are duplicitous. The paint plays with the resemblance of things leaving an open narrative that is porous and contingent, darkly humorous and scripted with political intent.

Ru Knox’s large paintings hang poised between a spatial world of depth and form populated with suggested characters that hint at untold narratives that have an immediate confrontation with the raw materiality of painting. The paint has been blended and scrubbed in some areas, left to trickle and bleed in others, built up and scraped back again laboriously, in forceful pursuit of the final effect.

Influenced by life growing up amongst the beauty of Florence, Verde Cordero Di Montezemolo is interested in the human condition and the commonality of feeling, emotion and experience.  Her work hints at the simplicity and universality of existence that unites mankind.

Meanwhile, in other work, a multi-disciplinary approach is explored to interrogate ideas and concepts. Hugo Flores’s work in paint, prints, video and sculpture addresses the fragility of memory, of shadowy and unreliable images emerging from the darkness and tests the potential relationships between materials and the images portrayed.

Spanning print, painting, collage, and sculpture, Raen Barnsley’s works appear to be digital in origin, until viewed at close range. Fascinated by the possibilities of contemporary imaging software, hard-edged abstraction, and cartography’s subjective depictions of space, her work reflects how her dyslexia affects her interpretation of written and verbal language, hinting at broken and suspended connections.

Working with painting, photography and collage, Joe Bucklow’s artworks explore the modern British landscape, particularly the desolate, forgotten, eerie or depopulated. The material process and painterly interventions to the photographic image allow a dialogue between the archival truth of the photograph, and the individual’s tainted recollection and experience.

Geraldine van Heemstra works with drawing devices and wind harps created from materials found on location. These instruments become extensions of her body, as they accompany her on walks, recording the intangibility of the elements contingent upon the interaction between human and nonhuman agencies. For Rachel Goodison, being human is epitomised by the juxtaposition of thought and behaviour, which can be at once absurd, joyful, light and dark. She sees this dialogue defined through child’s play and has created three-dimensional objects, working with everyday materials, and found objects, that encourage the viewer to see familiar things in a fresh light.

Tracy Whitehead uses collaged and cleanly cut abstract photographic images in her immersive installation, fascinated by the physical and psychic space that exists between the analogue and the digital, these two states existing alongside each other, contradictory but relational. Human form is suggested and implied, the body’s interior opened out into space.

The material properties of things interests Nick Paton. His installations can be seen as ‘material propositions’ depicting a collection of objects that have the potential to become something, or perhaps nothing at all. Materiality is also central to Charlotte Osborne’s work, investigating the unique qualities of a tantalisingly tactile set of materials like mud, toffee or wax, as the basis of the making process that will often include both durable and temporary sculpture, which then inform two-dimensional works on paper. Hybrid bodies and their biological processes that are psychologically and physically uncomfortable are the focus of these works.

Ema Mano Epps exposes the inherent properties of glass, cloth, paper and metal to demonstrate her emotive relationship to a physical experience. Tensions amongst materials in relationship with architectural space create a notion of harmony and balance set to defy logic. The result is a shared moment of calm caught in the physical and mental presence of magic.

The Art School is once again delighted to announce that our graduating students ranked their experience at the Art School extremely highly in the National Student Survey (NSS), surpassing the benchmark for higher education providers in all areas. These results follow similarly excellent results for the Art School in the 2018 NSS.

97.3% of our final year students who graduated in June 2019 and were eligible to complete the 2019 survey, agreed with the statement, ‘Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course’. This response was ‘Significantly above the benchmark’ set at 79.92%.

Other scores that were rated by the NSS as being ‘Significantly above the benchmark’ include:

‘The course is intellectually stimulating’ – 100% agreed, 17.2% above the benchmark

‘My course has challenged me to achieve my best work’ – 97.3% agreed, 16.9% above the benchmark

I have been able to access course specific resources (eg equipment, facilities, software, collections) when I needed to’ – 94.59% agreed, 20.7% above the benchmark

These outstanding results are testament to the Art School’s commitment to provide students with an immersive Arts education in a small, supportive community, with high levels of contact time with tutors who are all artists and practitioners at the top of their fields and generous studio space with regular access to specialist facilities.

The results of the NSS, commissioned by the Office for Students, are one of the most important tools used by applicants deciding which higher education institution to attend. The data is also used to support institutions improve their student experience.

The survey asks final year students to rank all aspects of their experience of studying on their chosen course and includes statements on teaching, learning opportunities, academic support, learning resources, student voice and more.

As well as the NSS results, we gather feedback directly from our students, graduates, student representative forum and staff teams to ensure that we continue to offer our students the best possible learning experience and the support they need to excel in their chosen discipline.




Our 2019 Summer School programme opened on 15 July, with the first four of our eight specialist courses running until 19 July, and a further four courses starting on Monday 22 July.

This year, we are delighted to announce that four of our historic craft-focused courses have been selected to form part of the Michelangelo Foundation’s inaugural Summer School Programme. Eight students and recent graduates from within their European network have been invited to attend the courses in order to broaden their horizons by exploring new skills beyond their specialised field.

The four short courses chosen from our Summer School portfolio are:

–          Etching Fundamentals (New for 2019)
–          Stone Carving for Beginners
–          Introduction to Ornamental Woodcarving
–         Gilding and Verre Églomisé

The eight students chosen to participate are: Lexie, a ceramics student at Maynooth University in Ireland and Martin, a PhD design student at Slovak Technical University, Slovakia (Stone Carving for Beginners);  Lydia from the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramic Skills
and Design course and Arne, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Art Antwerp in Belgium (Introduction to Ornamental Woodcarving); Cécile, a fashion design graduate of HEAD – Genève in Switzerland and Claire Luna, a student on the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramic Skills and Design course (Gilding and Verre Églomisé); Jenna, a textile graduate from the Ecole Nationale Supérieur des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d’Art (ENSAAMA) in Paris, France, and Laura, a textile graduate of La Massana in Barcelona, Spain (Etching Fundamentals).

The Michelangelo Foundation’s Summer School Programme aims to promote master craftsmanship and pass on traditional skills and knowledge to the next generation, a vision shared with the Art School. Other prominent European institutions included in their Summer School Programme are: Museu de Arte Popular, Portugal; Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie, France; Fluid, Belle-île-en-Mer, France.

Tamiko O’Brien, Principal of City & Guilds of London Art School, said: “The Art School is delighted to be partnering with the Michelangelo Foundation on the Summer School. At a time when digital technologies appear to question the need for the handmade, this is a timely intervention, and a fantastic opportunity for young artisans and designers to explore a craft tradition outside of their own specialism. It is essential that those of us who champion the dialogue between the eye, hand, material and intellect, collaborate to promote the very important role that traditional crafts play in society. Through this project we aim to stimulate, educate and encourage future makers.”

We look forward to welcoming the students from the Michelangelo Foundation’s network and hope they will find the courses a truly rewarding experience that will inform and develop their work as makers.


The City & Guilds of London Art School is a small not for profit Higher Education provider, specialising in contemporary Fine Art, Historic Carving and Conservation. With a student community of circa 250 and a small permanent team working with over 60 sessional tutors the Art School is a compassionate and caring employer.

The Cleaner, Caretaker is a member of a 2-person cleaning team responsible for all aspects of day-to-day cleaning across the Art School’s sites, with a particular emphasis on communal areas, offices, corridors and toilet facilities as well as the locking up and unlocking of the buildings. Liaising with the Site Manager, Senior Site Technician and other member of the cleaning team, the post holder will be required to work with due regard to health and safety and to alert the Site Manager of any health and safety and maintenance issues that become apparent. From time to time the Cleaner, Caretaker will be required to work flexibly to support the Art School’s schedule of external facing events and undertake minor repair tasks on an occasional basis.

If you would like to work in a job where your contribution is valued please download the Application Form and the Job Description from the links below:

Link to Application Form

Link to Job Description

The role is 15 hours per week, usually evenings between 17:00 to 20:00, Monday to Friday.

Salary between £10 and £12.50 per hour.

Deadline for applications: 11 August.


In November 2019, a team of specialists from the Art School’s Historic Carving and Conservation Departments and a conservator and wood and urushi expert from the British Museum, took part in a knowledge exchange with Tokyo University of Arts’ (TUA) Sculpture Conservation Research Lab in Tokyo, Japan.

The 14-day trip provided rare opportunities for experts from the UK and Japan to exchange skills and develop links. It followed a previous knowledge exchange, in May 2017, where experts from TUA’s Sculpture Conservation Research Lab visited the Art School in London.

The two-week agenda included workshops, presentations, interviews with craft experts and artists, and a round table discussion, plus a visit to the TUA Lab’s project at Enichi-ji temple and further temples, sites and cultural artefacts in Nara and Kyoto.

Art School tutors and industry experts, Rian Kanduth, specialist in gilding and decorative surfaces, and Gerry Alabone, Head of Frame and Furniture Conservation at the National Trust demonstrating gilding and ‘compo’ to TUA’s MA and PhD students.

Everyone involved found the knowledge exchange trip thoroughly rewarding and incredibly valuable, taking away both theoretical and practical learning points that can inform teaching at the Art School and be employed in professional practice.

The group witnessed how the Japanese concept of ‘intangible cultural properties’, the way that the embodied knowledge of craft practitioners is recognised and valued,  informs craft education in Japan. In the face of the Crafts Council reports stating that specialist craft education at University level is at serious risk in the UK, and the Radcliffe Red List including woodcarving and gilding as endangered crafts, this is a timely lesson to learn and supports the Art School’s commitment to champion craft education and craft cultures in the UK.

Alex Owen, conservator and specialist in wood and urushi at the British Museum working on their Japanese collection and Peter Thuring, freelance woodcarver and conservator and Woodcarving Tutor for the Art School’s Historic Carving Department, sharing specialist skills with TUA’s MA and PhD students.

The conservation experts were also impressed with the TUA’s Lab work with 3-D scanning and printing, and are exploring the possibility of introducing this practice at the Art School.  In Nara, the Art School and TUA experts considered how the raised urushi ornament on eighth century dry-lacquered statues was applied, and the workshop provided some useful insights.

Furthermore, following Tamiko O’Brien’s interviews and meetings with artists and craft practitioners, contemporary artist Taku Obata, who works with woodcarving and video, was invited to undertake a 6-month research residency at the Art School from May 2019. He will be showing a work in a group show in London at the start of his residency and will exhibit works made during his residency in September 2019 during the MA Show.

The conservation, wood and urushi specialists from Japan and the UK, who took part in the knowledge exchange.

The two-week knowledge exchange visit was an important and valuable opportunity to further build upon a dialogue between the TUA Lab and the Art School’s Historic Carving and Conservation Departments, and plans are in discussion for a return visit from the TUA Lab in 2020. The UK team were tremendously grateful for the great hospitality of their hosts and their willingness to share their knowledge and insights.

Thanks also to the Toshiba International Foundation and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation for making the project possible through their generous funding support.


We are thrilled to announce that third year stone carving student, Sue Aperghis, has been awarded a place on the New Medallist Scheme from the British Art Medal Society (BAMS), for her medal design entitled ‘Seven Summits’.

Her design is inspired by Mallory and Irvine’s fateful attempt at conquering Everest in 1924. Dressed in just tweed clothing and crampon-less boots, the pair were unsuccessful in their mountaineering challenge.

Everest isn’t as much of a challenge to today’s adventurers with modern equipment and experienced guides, but perhaps a comparative feat would be the Seven Summits Challenge. The challenge is to conquer the worlds seven highest peaks and reach the North and South poles unaided.

Sue’s medal design is in recognition of this act of incredible human endurance, which she feels should be more publicly acknowledged.

The New Medallist Scheme provides Sue with a three-week placement in a medal-making course at a college abroad or an international medal workshop, one week’s work experience in the engraving department of the Royal Mint, access for one week to the medal collections of the British Museum  under the supervision of a curator of medals, and one year BAMS membership.

Earlier this year, Sue won Eric Gill Society Lettering Prize which was part of BAMS Student medal Project, for her piece highlighting the challenges and opportunities faced by those with dyslexia.


We would like to congratulate Sue for her brilliant work and look forward to seeing her stone carvings in the Degree Show, 25-30 June 2019.


First and second year BA (Hons) Fine Art students are exhibiting work in their group show on 22 -23 June 2019 at Art Hill Gallery, London.

Private View is Saturday 22 June, 6-10pm, and the exhibition is open on Sunday 23 June, 12-5pm.

We hope you can come along!

First few days in Georgia…

We arrived at Kutaisi airport very late on Sunday night. Our lovely hosts Saba, Helene and Sandro met us there, and after a somewhat hair-raising 2 and a half hour drive into the mountains we arrived in beautiful Nikortsminda. Our first day on site was spent familiarizing ourselves with the Nikortsminda Church (St Nicholas in English), an 11th century Church with great cultural significance to the Georgian orthodox community to this day.

We began by learning the tools, materials and approach being undertaken by the Tbilisi State Academy of time arts conservation team, and viewing the stunning 17th century wall paintings covering the interior. The challenges of preserving and repairing such a historically and religiously significant building were evident, and we were fortunate to get the opportunity to ask many questions of the team on how they are facing these challenges.

On our first working day on site, we have been assisting with the exterior stonework, removing cement fills used to repair the church after a large earthquake in the 1990s. Later we will be filling these with lime mortar, a historically stable and much more aesthetically sympathetic material.

Let’s hope the weather holds up! More updates to come…

View from our host accommodations, a 1 minute walk from the church


Nikortsminda church


Interior 17th century wall paintings


Jennifer demonstrating proper cement removal techniques


Hard at work, our first official working day on site!

I am currently working as a sculptor but have been a B-BOY (break dancer) even before this. Being a B-BOY is the base for making my works. I emphasise the movement of the body in the way a B-BOY does. I mainly work with wood carvings, expressing the momentum and motion, and in contrast symmetrical poses.

In addition to the sculptures of B-BOY, I also refer to sculptures that are abstracted to the limit as “BUTTAI” (object in Japanese) and create photography works and films.

It looks like a contrastive expression to a sculpture work that is three-dimensional, but it is a work created from the perspective of a B-BOY’s body expression. They are all in one extension of a “B-BOY”.  The two expressions exist in a contradictory relationship in all senses of “representation and abstraction”, “three dimensions and two dimensions”, “gravity and weightlessness”, and “static and movement” on their extended lines.

In recent years I have been using 3D scanning and 3D printers to change the size of the sculptures and output, replacing them with other materials, and mass-producing.

The Art School is delighted to welcome Taku Obata, International Artist in Residence 2019. Taku joins our other Artists in Residence Gray Wielebinski and Alastair Gordon, who form part of the Art School’s creative community, where they share their practice insights with our fine art students and participate in events. Their work, made during their residencies, will be shown in the MA and Fellows Show in September.

During a knowledge exchange visit with Tokyo University of the Arts Sculpture Restoration PhD Lab in November 2018, the Art School was able to interview Taku during his two-person show at Tokyo’s influential Watari-um gallery. Taku is a contemporary artist who works mainly with large scale polychrome woodcarving and video. His work is inspired by his background as a breakdancer.

Predominantly based in Japan, Taku received a master’s degree in sculpture from the Tokyo University of the Arts in 2008 and the same year won the grand prize at the Tokyo Wonder Site Grand Prix for his “B-BOY sculpture”. He has had a string of successful solo exhibitions in Japan and the United States, as well as exhibiting in many group shows.

A miniature version of Taku’s work is included in a current exhibition at White Conduit Projects, Islington, curated by Mark Dunhill and Caroline Broadhead. The Size of Thoughts brings together works by 50 sculptors and contemporary jewellers, that are no larger than 30cm in any direction. The exhibition, that includes works by other former Art School International Artists in Residence, Saya Kubota and Masa Suzuki, is open until 30 June, with a Gallery Talk on 6 June, 6.45-8.30pm.

We welcome Taku Obatu to the Art School and look forward to sharing his practice insights.


The devastating blaze at Notre Dame de Paris, on 15 April has shocked people around the world. The cathedral’s spire was destroyed and the extensive oak-beamed roof was severely damaged in the fire but the stone vaults of the building largely survived, and prevented a far more damaging outcome. It is a testament to the genius of the medieval construction that the entire structure did not collapse.

Notre Dame de Paris – This photograph is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

When catastrophic events like this happen, threatening our cultural heritage, our minds turn to the slow and complex restoration process that will be required to rebuild such revered and important historic buildings. Dr Marina Sokhan is Head of Conservation at City & Guilds of London Art School, one of the only higher education institutions in Europe that teaches the specialist craft skills of historic wood and stone carving and conservation of cultural artefacts. She comments, “It will take a long time to assess the real damage and to make plans for conservation and restoration treatments.  Conservators will face challenges at a completely new level due to the unprecedented complexities of the conservation issues related to fire and fire extinction methods in the context of Notre Dame.”

But it’s not only the high level of craft skills that are needed for a reparation on such a grand scale. It’s also the large number of skilled crafts people required. In a report published in Le Monde on 17 April, Jean-Claude Bellanger, Secretary General of the Compagnons du Devoir, an association of elite craftspeople, is reported as saying the reconstruction of Notre Dame is likely to face a shortage of highly-skilled stonemasons, carpenters and roofers. It is predicted that 100 stonecutters, 150 carpenters, and 200 roofers will be needed to work on the repairs from September 2019.

However, time has shown that major cultural disasters of this type, such as the 1966 floods in Venice that destroyed or severely damaged a large portion of its buildings and the fire at Windsor Castle in 1992 that destroyed 115 rooms, have been catalysts for significant advances in restoration and conservation practice and, because of the high-profile coverage of the events, have spurred renewal in the profession. Dr Sokhan adds, “The Notre Dame fire showed us that there is a high price to pay for our human mistakes but at the same time gives us a unique opportunity to re-assess our conservation practice, to develop new approaches, methodologies and new materials and to bring the case of preservation of our shared cultural heritage to the attention of the general public and governments around the world.”

BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone

The historic carving and restoration courses at City & Guilds of London Art School were born out of the ravages of the Second World War, which left many important buildings damaged and scarred. From its foundation in 1854, the Art School specialised in teaching Fine Art and Sculpture. After the Second World War, Restoration and Carving courses were introduced specifically to provide the country with the craft skills needed for the restoration of London’s damaged architecture, monuments and treasures.

Since then, these specialist courses have continued to develop and have earned a deserved reputation for excellence. The Art School now offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in the conservation of 3D cultural objects and, having recently received validation from Ravensbourne University London, will offer the only BA and MA degrees in historic carving in the UK and possibly Europe, starting in September 2019.

BA (Hons) Conservation Studies

Over the years, the Art School’s Historic Carving alumni and tutors have been involved in the restoration of historic buildings throughout Europe, including the restorative works at Windsor Castle and the National Trust’s Uppark House, as well as the re-creation of the Berliner Schloss, demolished by the government of East Germany during the 1950s.

Tim Crawley, Head of Historic Carving often remarks that his early career developed enormously when he worked on the 23-year long restoration of Westminster Abbey, completed in 1996.  “Over this 23-year period a large number of masons and carvers, including myself, had the once-in-a-professional-lifetime opportunity to experience the kind of work that only rarely appears these days; elaborate canopies, finials, friezes, cupolas and statuary.  Although the job was completed almost a quarter of a century ago, many of those involved continue in their craft all over the country, many in senior positions and able to pass on their invaluable experience to others working their way up. The forthcoming restoration of Notre Dame has the potential to provide a similar outcome if those commissioning the work seize this opportunity and incorporate this into their planning.”

Students on the Historic Carving and Conservation courses at the Art School are given the opportunity to work with national institutions and organisations on live commissions and gain professional practice, equipping them for a successful career in the heritage sector. Between 2005 and 2018, the Art School collaborated with St George’s Chapel, Windsor, to replace the eroded grotesques at this famous chapel, which dates back to 1348. The Art School’s Historic Carving students have had the opportunity to engage with the full process of submitting works for commission, responding to a brief for a historic location, making work to a high professional standard that has to survive the weather and deliver the final work on time. In total, students from both wood and stone carving courses have produced over 40 new carvings, most of which have already been sited on the outer walls of the Chapel.

This unique collaboration is an example of a bold decision by those responsible for the preservation of a national monument to engage in innovative ways to build significant training opportunities into a major restoration programme. With City & Guilds of London Art School’s commitment to train the wood and stone carvers and conservators of tomorrow, we hope the UK’s crafts men and women will be equipped to sensitively restore and conserve historic buildings in the future.

Those wanting to develop a career in the restoration or conservation profession can apply for one of the Art School’s specialist degree courses, commencing in autumn 2019.

BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone

BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding

PgDip/MA Carving

BA (Hons) Conservation Studies

MA Conservation

What really stayed with you from your time at the Art School?
All the different pathways it introduced to me – I left with a lot of options I would never have guessed existed when I began, and an amazing community of clever, kind people to call on when questions come up! It’s been ten years, but I have very clear memories of sitting in the sunny courtyard – dusty and happy.

What did you work on during your time at the Art School that has proved valuable in your professional career?
Getting my hands on a variety of materials and working between departments was invaluable. Our fantastic drawing classes have underpinned how I approach almost every project and carving one of the Windsor grotesques was fun!

What did you learn from lacquer expert and former Head of Restoration, Margaret Ballardie?
I was part of the final Japanning class that Margaret taught at the Art School, and in the opening minutes she introduced a totally unfamiliar term, urushi. She was the very first person I ever heard say this word I now use more than any other in daily life – well, some days it might come in second after ‘delicious’ – oishii!

My classes with her got me really excited about the relationship between British and Japanese craft history, and a few months later I had the opportunity to see them in action, thanks to the Art School’s David Ballardie Travel Scholarship. I spent two weeks in Japan in my second year, returned for a couple of months on a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust scholarship, and thanks to these things was invited back out her to live.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without my time at the Art School, and with Margaret Ballardie. I’m very grateful.

What are you up to now?
I’m undertaking a PhD at Tokyo University of the Arts, working with the Japanese technique of kintsugi – mending with gold and Japanese urushi lacquer. I do repairs and make new works based on the thinking and practice behind the method. I’ve lived in Japan for two years and should be here a couple more years at least – although this year I’ll be traveling in Europe and other parts of East Asia, to learn, teach and exhibit.

Images by Sybilla Schwaerzler.

The Degree Show, 26 – 30 June, features the work of the final year of BA Conservation students as well as work from BA Fine Art and Historic Carving students.

In the final year Conservation students work on real objects from private and museum collections. The practical work in the final year is more intense as students work more independently and liaise directly with the clients. This professional practice prepares students for a career in the heritage sector and helps them build a professional network.

The work of recent MA Fine Art alumna, Flora Yukhnovich, features in a new summer exhibition with two other young artists María Berrio and Caroline Walker. Presented by Victoria Miro in association with The Great Women Artists, the exhibition runs from 7 June to 27 July 2019, with the Private View on Friday 7 June, 6–8pm.

In her work, Flora adopts the language of Rococo. Reimagining the dynamism of historic works by eighteenth-century artists such as François Boucher, Nicolas Lancret and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Yukhnovich brings classically-inspired painterly traditions into a more consciously feminine and contemporary realm by featuring wisps of millennial pinks and purples. Her paintings explore ideas surrounding dualities and multiplicities, transcending gendered traditions while fusing high art with popular culture, and intellect with intuition.

In 2018, Flora completed The Great Women Artists Residency at Palazzo Monti, Brescia, with Fine Art alumni Kate Dunn and Antonia Showering which culminated in an exhibition at Palazzo Monti, curated by Katy Hessel – writer, curator and founder of the influential Instagram account @thegreatwomenartists.

On completing her MA Fine Art at the Art School in 2017, Flora was the first recipient of the ACS City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Award, comprising an award of £7,000 to establish a studio in the year following graduation, as well as membership to the Artists’ Collecting Society and a one-year subscription to Bridgeman Studio.

Viscountess Bridgeman CBE and Flora Yukhnovich

We look forward to seeing Flora’s latest work and congratulate her on the upcoming show.

Our annual Review book is an insight into life at a real art school. It features key developments at the Art School and the outstanding work, live projects and exciting industry collaborations undertaken by the students and expert tutors on our specialist courses.

You can read 2019 Review below or download the PDF here.

Alternatively, pick up a printed copy next time you visit the Art School.

The Review from 2018, 2017 and 2016 are also available to read online or download below.


Downloadable PDF.


Downloadable PDF.


Downloadable PDF.

We are delighted to reveal the premiere of a brand new video that showcases our new MA Art & Material Histories, focusing on it’s distinctive aspects.

Filmed in just one (very busy) day, the video features Head of Art Histories Tom Groves and Art Histories Tutor Dr Elizabeth Johnson describing the singular flavour of the course and focuses on the work of students and tutors from across our range of specialist courses, demonstrating the Art School’s commitment to learning-through-making and hands-on material enquiry.

We think the resulting film truly reflects the unique atmosphere of life at a real art school and is an insightful exploration of the new MA course and its commitment to theoretical material enquiry. Take a look and see for yourself…

Students on our new MA Art & Material Histories, will scrutinise the use of materials in a range of historical and contemporary artworks and material objects. Critical thinking will focus on the ‘material turn’ and how the material and ‘immaterial’ world of objects, things, and the stuff they are made from, can relate to philosophical, theoretical, technological, social, and political contexts.

Based at the Art School, the course is enriched by the diversity of making and creative endeavour undertaken by our Fine Art, Conservation and Wood and Stone Carving students, and access to our specialist facilities offers the opportunity for hands-on material enquiry.

The MA Art & Material Histories commences in autumn 2019 and is open for applications. Find more information and book onto an open day.

Behind-the-scenes shots from the making of the film…

City & Guilds of London Art School is delighted to announce the next development in it’s partnership with the Michelangelo Foundation. The Art School’s own Summer School will form part of a european wide Michelangelo Foundation Summer School Programme for 2019. Participating institutions are: Fundação Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva (Portugal), City & Guilds of London Art School (UK), Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie d’Aubusson (France) and Fluïd Coop (France).

The Michelangelo Foundation Summer School Programme is an educational initiative aiming to fund selected young artisans and designers to take part in intensive short courses staged by members of the Michelangelo network around Europe. Held during the summer months, the courses offer a valuable opportunity for students and recent graduates to learn about an aspect of craftsmanship outside their own area of expertise, encouraging them to fulfil their potential and broaden their horizons. Pieces created during the Summer School may form part of future international exhibitions staged by the Michelangelo Foundation.

Seven courses are on offer in summer 2019:

· Portuguese basket Technology at Museu d’Arte Popular in Lisbon, Portugal – 15 July-2 August

· Stone Carving for Beginners at City & Guilds of London Art School in London, UK – 22-26 July

· Introduction to Ornamental Woodcarving at City & Guilds of London Art School in London, UK – 22-26 July

· Gilding and Verre Eglomisé at City & Guilds of London Art School in London, UK – 22-26 July

· Etching Fundamentals at City & Guilds of London Art School in London, UK – 22-26 July

· Tapestry and Artistic Interpretation at Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie d’Aubusson in Aubusson, France – 26 August -2 September

· Glassblowing at Fluid Coop in Belle-Île-en-Mer, France – 30 September-5 October

Applications are open from 15 April to 13 May and selection will be announced early June. Click here to reach the application form.

Entry requirements:

· over 18 years old at the time of application

· a young craftsman or a young designer/architect with a strong interest in craftsmanship

· a student or a young graduate (graduated less than a year ago)

· able to learn and communicate in English

· able to attend the whole course

· based in Europe and be able to travel in Europe

For further information, please refer to where you will find out all the details about the 2019 Summer School.

Applications for these funded places for young craftspeople should be made directly to the Michelangelo Foundation.

The Board of the City & Guilds of London Art School are seeking to appoint a Chair and new Trustees. The Art School is a small, distinguished, specialist provider of higher education in Conservation, Fine Art & Historic Carving with a reputation for the quality of teaching and the high level of student satisfaction. The Art School is a charitable company, governed by a Board of Trustees.

We are advertising for these posts through Nurole, and a link to the details on their website and how to apply is available here

The deadline is 22nd May.

Please note that it may take up to 20 seconds for the Nurole posting to upload.

If you have any queries about these roles please email Tamiko O’Brien, the Art School’s Principal, directly on 

The Art School is excited to announce we have awarded the Student Initiated Project Prize to two students.

The winners are 3rd year Fine Art students Kim Booker for her idea to launch Assemblage Gallery, and Roberta de Caro for her plans for a participatory art project working with the materiality of glass in relation to domestic abuse.

Kim Booker’s Assemblage Gallery will be an online and physical pop-up gallery space to showcase the work of recent fine art graduates and emerging artists. Building on the existing platform of the artist-led magazine, Assemblage, of which Kim is one of the Directors, the Assemblage Gallery will focus on artists whose work informs and inspires Kim’s own practice.

The first exhibition planned will be at Studio Green, Herne Hill, 2 – 5  May 2019. It will be curated in conjunction with DATEAGLE ART and will be a solo show of work by Art School Artist in Residence Gray Wielebinski.

Roberta de Caro’s glass workshop project aims to provide survivors of domestic abuse with a safe space to have a conversation about their experiences whilst participating in the calming and meditative practice of glass making. After an initial set of three workshops, an exhibition in a local venue is planned. Roberta’s longer term plan is to launch a not-for-profit organisation providing regular workshops for domestic abuse survivors.

A first and second prize is usually offered by the Art School, but due to the very high quality of the submissions, we have decided to split the prize equally.

The Student Initiated Project Prize is one of around 47 prizes and awards that Art School students have the opportunity to win each year. Many of the prizes and awards we offer are funded by generous donations from Art School supporters and benefactors who want to support development within the arts and heritage sector and recognise the standards of excellence and specialist teaching and facilities available at the Art School.

Congratulations to Kim and Roberta, and we wish them luck with their initiatives!

Thumbnail image: Gray Wielebinski, Enemy of My Enemy, 2018

The second years carrying out lime mortar fills on a Venetian well head at Roehampton University.

The Art School is delighted to announce that we’ll be taking part in London Craft Week 2019, with two days’ of events and activities planned on Friday 10 May and Saturday 11 May 2019.

Material Matters Pigment Symposium and Historic Carving Open House


Material Matters Pigment Symposium – 11 May

Part of the Art School’s Material Matters research programme, this one-day symposium will bring together leading artists, conservators, curators and researchers to explore and interrogate pigments today within the broader context of their production and rich and varied pasts. Booking is essential.


  • 09:30 am – 5 pm, Saturday 11 May 2019
  • Drawing Studio, City & Guilds of London Art School

You can find more information, including ticket prices, and book your place here.

Open Studios Historic Carving – 10 & 11 May

Once again, we are opening our Historic Carving Studios and running our ever popular Carving Competition. Visitors can have-a-go at stone carving and make a special carver’s paper hat. Our Decorative Surfaces Fellow, Polly Bennett, will be demonstrating pigment making and we’ll also be demonstrating calligraphy and etching in our historic Print Room.

Visit our London Craft Week event page for more information.

These events are free and open to all, with no need to book.

We hope to see you at the Art School at what always proves to be a fun and lively event.

The main focus of our BA (Hons) Conservation Studies is the conservation of three-dimensional cultural artefacts made from stone, wood, plaster and terracotta, as well as decorative surfaces such as gilding, polychromy, lacquer and japanning.

However, students also learn how to conserve objects made more contemporary materials such as plastics. As an example, a recent student internship at the Museum of London centered around the conservation of uPVC banners from the museum’s Brian Haw Collection.

Here, in a carefully controlled outdoor area of the Art School used by the Conservation Department for experiments of this nature, specialist Chris Collins supports our final year students as they explore different types of plastics.






On the 20th of February 2019, our Conservation students were presenting their Final Year Thesis at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Batoul Algasra: The study of photo-chemically aged historic coatings under UV-A visual observation and fluorescence spectroscopy

Ona Curto Graupera: The use of sulphate-reducing bacteria for bioremoval of black
crusts from marble in extreme conditions

Jonida Mecani: Nano ESTEL as consolidant for Reigate Stone upon humidity frost and

Miyuki Kajiwara: A preliminary investigation into the degradation of plasticized poly vinyl chloride (PVC) sheet upon heat ageing

Harriet Lewars: The colour, discolouration and recolouring of lime wood

Anna Ng: Plastic love: studies and observations of anti graffiti coatings on brick


Maila Salmaso: An investigation of the use of Er:YAG laser on red lacquered surfaces


Suffrage campaign posters and banners designed by City & Guilds of London Art School alumni.

It’s 101 years since the Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed, which allowed all men and some women over the age of 30 in the UK to vote, the first step towards universal suffrage 10 years later.

Artwork depicted on banners, posters and postcards used for the Suffrage movement’s campaigns were poignant, political messages, both memorable and effective in their fight for gender equality. Much of the artwork was designed and produced by the Suffrage Atelier, an artists’ collective campaigning for women’s suffrage, set up by siblings Clemence and Laurence Housman.

The Housman’s studied with us around 1883 when we were called the South London School of Technical Art. Laurence studied Art and Clemence, who was actually sent along as a chaperone for her brother, studied wood-engraving.


Laurence Housman, 1915                              Clemence Housman, c.1910

Clemence became a writer, illustrator and wood engraver as well as an activist in the women’s suffrage movement. One of her novels, The Were-Wolf, implicitly comments on the gender segregation on the wood-engraving course in place at the time she attended the Art School.
Laurence, who was also a playwright, writer and illustrator, was also politically active, and was one of the founding members of the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage, whose objective was to see women given the same voting rights as men.

Although the Suffrage Atelier mainly encouraged professional female artists and illustrators to become members, it also asked men and amateur artists to subscribe. Its policy was to produce work that could be quickly printed and circulated, much of which was distributed through the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) stores and through national newspapers.

We are pleased to say that the South London School of Technical Art dropped its gender segregation policy back in the 1890s, perhaps as a response to Clemence’s campaigning.

Today, the Art School is a not-for-profit, specialist higher education institution, committed to supporting ‘thinking through making’ with an emphasis on material enquiry, traditional skills, experimentation and research, combined with contextual art historical education. We are dedicated to educating the next generation of artists, carvers and conservators no matter their background and are delighted to celebrate the amazing work of our tutors, students and graduates on International Women’s Day

Laura’s practice focuses mainly in printmaking and film.  Her work explores how the subconscious is brought to the fore. It is heavily concerned with exploring theatrical imagery that has erotic and fantastical overtones. She is fascinated by what it means to be human; what makes us human. Sex, death, beastiality, mythologies, symbolism and transgression are common themes in her practice.

Laura’s work is in private collections across the UK and she exhibits widely. Recent exhibitions include the Bankside Gallery, Royal Academy, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the London Short Film Festival.

After completing a Graphic Communication degree at Bath School of Art, Laura went on to gain an MA Fine Art Printmaking at Royal College of Art in London. She was a Fellow at Royal Academy Schools from 2012-15.

The Art School is excited to announce plans for the revalidation of our longstanding BA (Hons) Conservation Studies course, with a new pathway in Book & Paper conservation planned to commence in autumn 2020.

The proposal to revalidate with two named awards, BA (Hons) Conservation: Wood, Stone & Decorative Surfaces and BA (Hons) Conservation: Books & Paper will provide future Conservation students with the choice of following either specialist pathway.

The inclusion of this new specialism to our Conservation Department means we are ensuring the continuing study of book and paper conservation in London, following the intention of University of the Arts London (UAL) to close their  MA Conservation course at Camberwell College of Art. UAL  identified City & Guilds of London Art School as a national centre of excellence for the training of conservators and the ideal home for book and paper conservation.

We welcome  UAL’s commitment to provide a number of student bursaries for this new award, specifically for students from backgrounds underrepresented in Higher Education. Their intention to gift relevant facilities, learning material and equipment will help us establish this new subject area and enable us to provide national and international cultural organisations with the continuing conservation expertise and practical skills required for the future of conservation and heritage in the UK and further afield.

This new initiative comes as we relaunch our longstanding and well-respected historic carving diplomas and postgraduate diplomas, as the country’s only BA (Hons) and MA degrees in Historic Carving from autumn 2019. This new development will further consolidate the Art School’s position as an international destination for the study of historic craft, conservation and fine art.

Find out more about our BA (Hons) Conservation Studies and MA Conservation.

The Gothic Cathedrals of the Isle-de-France

This is the third year that we have run a medieval study trip for first year carvers and conservators. This year the generous grant from the Stuart Heath Charitable Settlement allowed us to extend our range geographically into France, and increase the length of the trip from 3 to 4 days. This allowed us to make a tour of most of the major Cathedrals of the Isle-de-France, which encircle Paris with convenient travel  distances between.

The primary aim of this trip is to allow students to contextualise what is being learnt in Art Histories study, as well as their practical studies in the workshops and studios. The opportunity to physically experience the great Cathedrals on site, rather than through photographs, allows a much deeper understanding of the interrelationship of the architecture, sculpture and glass painting. Also it is possible to easily follow the chronological development of the Gothic style in its various phases and forms. The Early, High and Late Gothic  periods are  all perfectly exemplified in this closely related group of buildings that were at the epicentre of the development of medieval art through the 12th-15th centuries.

Given their age and the vicissitudes of time and history, these buildings also provide the perfect opportunity for staff and students to explore issues around the restoration and conservation of ancient monuments. Reims Cathedral, for instance, given its location on the front line in WWI, was tragically shelled leading to a disastrous fire and the collapse of some parts of the building, necessitating a major restoration programme. At the time this shocking event had an impact across Europe, much like that created by the recent destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas and Palmyra by ISIS forces. More recently Chartres Cathedral has undergone a radical and controversial clean internally which has led to heated debate in heritage circles. There is no better place to discuss the issues arising from events like these than in the buildings themselves, where the effects of damage, decay, restoration and conservation can be seen directly.

Apart from the academic benefits, the social opportunities of such trips are also very significant, allowing conservation and carving students to get to know one another better, as well as staff. Given the generous sponsorship, we were also able to offer discounted place to students from other years, as well as to staff, and in the end a total of 37 students and staff participated in the trip.


We set off on the Friday with a long coach journey that delivered us to the start of our itinerary at Laon Cathedral. Dramatically silhouetted on a hill that dominates the surrounding countryside, the west front was washed by the late afternoon sunshine when we arrived.  Memorably, after the coach took a wrong turn, we were given a police  escort to the set-down point. Laon is a little visited masterpiece of early Gothic design, so the perfect place to start the visit, as its powerfully modelled façade and richly sculpted portals were highly original, famous throughout late 12th century Europe, and very influential in the later development of portal sculpture. Following installation in our hotel, the evening was spent eating in the varied restaurants of the old medieval town.


Saturday found us at Reims, sadly out of sequence chronologically in our list of Cathedrals, but the influence of the Laon experiments on the facade of Reims is very apparent. Reims was the coronation church of French royalty, and a centre of carving, particularly notable for its figure sculpture as well as its naturalistic foliage carving. In England, exquisite examples of this style are found at Southwell and York Minster, so close to the Reims spirit that the English carvers must have visited and studied it. Some of the third years who participated in the trip were able to remember seeing the Southwell carvings on our first medieval study trip, which took us up the east side of the country to Lincoln ,York and Durham.

We had two Frenchmen on the trip, one a student, the other a tutor, Ghislain Puget, who knew the  building well having worked on its restoration.


By Sunday we had reached Chartres, where we had an extended stay, given the importance of the building in the history of Gothic architecture. Although it was the first great monument of the High Gothic style, its West Front carvings pre-date the rest of the building by some 50 years and are themselves the best and most perfectly preserved example of early Gothic sculpture. Despite the bitterly cold weather, the group enjoyed a thorough exposition of the sculptures by Michael Paraskos, our Art History Tutor.


Next on the itinerary was Beauvais  which is famed for the tallest vault ever built in the Gothic period. Unfortunately, in their ambition, the builders overreached themselves and the vaults collapsed soon after construction. Undaunted, they were rebuilt, and remarkably, despite not completing the nave, a tower and spire of even more spectacular height was added later. It too collapsed, so Beauvais remains a heroic fragment, still beset by problems of stability as evidenced by the ugly wooden bracing to be seen inside the church. This was the coldest day of the trip, with snow whipping round our ears as we studied  the building. The buttresses supporting the vault of the choir are so tall and spindly that the whole structure needed to be made more rigid with the introduction of tie bars at a high level. In ornamental terms, the building is very interesting, as  renaissance forms start to appear amongst the gothic foliage of the north transept portals.


By Monday lunchtime the road was leading us back north-west to Calais, via Amiens Cathedral, roughly contemporary with Reims but fortunately less damaged in WWI. Consequently, the choir furnishings remain intact and feature some beautifully preserved late Gothic polychrome carvings facing the aisles, whilst the wooden choir stalls are extraordinary, featuring much virtuoso late Gothic carving. We managed to obtain special permission to enter the choir to sketch and photograph these closely, much to the delight of the woodcarvers. One sharp eyed student identified a small WWI memorial cut by Eric Gill, the lettering of which really stood out against the indifferent French lettercutting of the period.


Although focus of the trip was on the study of medieval art and architecture, we also managed a couple of other visits en route. The first was to the Palace of Fontainebleau, the next largest royal palace to Versailles, famed for the Galerie Francois I, with its Early Renaissance carved panelling, and its figurative stucco decorations by Rosso and Primaticcio, who were amongst the first to bring Renaissance forms to Northern Europe from Italy.

Finally, we concluded with a stop at the WWI Memorial at Thiepval, in the form of a monumental arch designed by Lutyens and poignantly inscribed with the names of over 70,000 servicemen who died in the surrounding fields but have no known graves. It seemed right to stop here in this centenary year of the end of the Great War.

Given the generous funding available to support it, this was the most ambitious and successful medieval study trip to date. First years were heavily subsidised,  and smaller subsidies were made available to other students as well as tutors. The increased numbers attracted by the bargain prices meant that costs per person could be  kept really low (£135 for first years and £200 for others).

Next year we may repeat this model of coach travel to nearby European centres, but are also considering the possibility of travelling further afield by budget airline and running a single location trip.

Having waved goodbye to our inspirational 2018 Artists in Residence Katie Pratt, Jamie Shovlin and John Greenwood, the Art School is delighted to welcome our two new Artists in Residence for 2019 – Gray Wielebinski and Alastair Gordon.

Gray Wielebinski is an artist working between London and Los Angeles in print, video, performance, sound, sculpture, and installation. Through their work, Gray explores Gender and Sexuality and how they intersect with other structures of power and identity. They create an iconography that both maintains and interrupts coded imagery to build an alternative space of both familiarity and discomfort, allowing the viewer to recognize and deconstruct their relationships to familiar images, objects, spaces, and notions of themselves. Collage plays an integral role in their practice, taking on many forms, from video and sculpture to sound and printmaking.


Gray graduated from The Slade School of Fine Art with a Masters in Fine Art Media in 2018 and has been Artist in Residence at the Academy of Visual Arts in Hong Kong. Gray has recently exhibited with Gazelli Art House and B. Dewitt Gallery in London, Primary in Nottingham, TURF Projects in Croydon and also  exhibits internationally. They have upcoming exhibitions at Lychee One in London and Organon in Odense, Denmark in September 2019.

Alastair Gordon gained his BA Fine Art (Hons) Painting from Glasgow School of Art and MA Fine Art from Wimbledon School of Art. Integral to his practice is an exploration of artefact and artifice as he examines existing work and questions the replication of the image, craft of the artist and certainty of the viewer.  His work strongly references a form of trompe l’oeil painting that proliferated in the seventeenth century in Northern Europe: a specific form of illusionism called rack painting. From here he will often paint an array of selected objects to appear as ‘pinned’ or ‘taped’ in low relief on a wooden surface. The effect disarms the viewer, who may question the historical veracity of these objects.

With a string of international group and solo exhibitions since 2002 and a list of international collections, Alastair has been developing his practice for over 15 years.

As part of the Art School’s creative community, the Artists in Residence share their practice insights and collaborate with our fine art students, and we’re very much looking forward to working with Gray and Alastair throughout the year.

The Art School is delighted to announce that our exciting range of summer short courses are now open for bookings. And for summer 2019, we are offering two new courses – Etching Fundamentals and Calligraphy for Beginners and Improvers.


We are opening our doors to Summer School for the second year, following a successful introductory year in 2018. Our nine short courses for adults (18+), each lasting between 3 and 5 days, run from 15-26 July 2019. There’s a choice of figurative drawing; wood and stone carving; gilding; relief modelling in clay; calligraphy; etching and conservation of historic objects. All the courses are suitable for beginners, and some are suitable for people with experience. Course fees start at £295, and go up to £435.

10% early bird discount is available to those who book a place by 14th March 2019.


Feedback from many students on the 2018 programme was positive.

“I wanted to be constructively criticised in my drawing, and I was. I wanted to learn techniques and ideas that I could take away as a mental toolbox to help me draw in the future, and I did.” Steven Rooke, Observational Drawing: Focus on the Figure

“A truly wonderful introduction to the fundamental skills and techniques of woodcarving. A real achievement of mine was to complete the acanthus carving – I have not carved before.” Jeff Bourne, Introduction to Ornamental Woodcarving

“This course was excellent. The organisation and teaching of the subject matter was clearly communicated. The atmosphere in the lab was extremely comfortable and the tutor gave excellent, constructive feedback.” Jessica Routleff-Jones, Gilding and Verre Églomisé




Etching Fundamentals, 22-26 July 2019, £435

Re-established by Sir Norman Ackroyd RA, as a thriving centre for learning and practice, the Art School’s historic Print Room is the setting for the Etching Fundamentals course. Students will learn a range of Intaglio techniques including hard and soft ground, sugarlift aquatint, colour etching, as well as printing with collage and multiple plate printing. They’ll also examine the historical background of printmaking and how it has been used by artists from its origins to present day.

Calligraphy for Beginners and Improvers, 22-26 July 2019, £435

Calligraphy for Beginners and Improvers is ideal for those who want to learn how to master the use of the broad edge pen, and to develop calligraphy. Students will learn how to create beautiful letters in a range of scripts, how to put them into words by practicing good spacing. The more experienced learner will move on to embellish basic alphabets with elegant flourishes or to experiment on variations of the basic alphabet forms.

The full course listing is as follows:

15-19 July 2019

Behind the Scenes with the Conservators*

Observational Drawing: Focus on the Figure

Bas Relief Modelling in Clay

Lettering in Stone

* Monday to Wednesday


22-26 July 2019

Etching Fundamentals

Calligraphy for Beginners and Improvers

Stone Carving for Beginners

Introduction to Ornamental Woodcarving

Gilding and Verre Églomisé

For further information about the courses, and to book your place, please click here. If you have any queries, you can contact us at

Different from most of my peers, I will say that I want to be a printmaker instead of an artist. More precisely, I want to be a craftsman or an artisan focusing on making prints. Ozu Yasujiro is my favourite movie director, and probably my favourite artist. In an interview, he once said, “I only know how to make tofu. I can make fried tofu, boiled tofu, stuffed tofu. Cutlets and other fancy stuff, that’s for other directors.” Because he spent his entire career to make nothing else but “tofu”, he made the best “tofu”. Ozu probably did not consider himself as an artist, but a craftsman who repeatedly practiced the same craft until he reached perfection. This is what I want to be – a tofu maker; a craftsman in printmaking. Except through practicing the same craft repetitively and constantly, I do not know any other way to achieve perfection.

My works are a culmination and accumulation into site specific history to depict socio-cultural entropic narratives. They explore the correlation between architecture and sculptural landscapes of derelict and disused spaces. I seek sites where the intersection between function and intention have fallen into decline and disrepair, where untold histories recount themselves, in all their brevity, satire, beauty, and collapse. I work within the reimagined human landscape: the world we shape to suit our needs and what happens when their obsolescence renders them irrelevant.

At first, these are paintings about painting: images that oscillate between artifice and artifact. My paintings strongly reference a form of trompe l’oeil painting that proliferated in the seventeenth century in Northern Europe: a specific form of illusionism called rack painting. From here I paint an array of selected objects to appear as ‘pinned’ or ‘taped’ in low relief on a wooden surface. Objects are often chosen for their residual value in the artists’ studio such as masking tape left over from the painting process or a blank piece of paper: materials to be utilised at the very beginning or discarded at the end of the painting process. Certain questions emerge about the processes of painting, of illusion, representation and how artists utilise their source materials. The notion of authenticity is central to my artistic enquiry. As Jean Baudrillard wrote in The System of Objects: “We are fascinated by what has been created…because the moment of creation cannot be reproduced.”

The viewer is often disarmed by the meticulous nature of their representation and the sense of authority communicated by their display. And yet, despite their whimsical irony and scrupulous attention to detail, the historical veracity of these objects is in constant doubt.


Instagram: @alastair_gordon

Gray’s work explores Gender and Sexuality and how they intersect with other structures of power and identity. They create an iconography that both maintains and interrupts coded imagery to build an alternative space of both familiarity and discomfort, allowing the viewer to recognize and deconstruct their relationships to familiar images, objects, spaces, and notions of themselves. Ultimately collage plays an integral role in their practice, taking on many forms, from video and sculpture to sound and printmaking.

As they explore their own tenuous relationship with their gender and body, Gray’s work uses a variety of strategies through which to explore identity, specifically ambivalent relationships to masculinity. Recently Gray’s research and practice uses sports for both aesthetics and metaphor as an entry point to explore themes such as national identity (specifically the US and Americana), desire, myth making, surveillance, hierarchies, race, and gender. Ultimately Gray’s practice becomes a way to engage directly with the realities and contexts within which we live while at the same time imagining and proposing alternatives, even if it’s just in our imaginations.

Gray Wielebinski is an artist working between London and Los Angeles in print, video, performance, sound, sculpture, and installation. They graduated from The Slade School of Fine Art with a Masters in Fine Art Media in 2018 and was recently Artist in Residence at the Academy of Visual Arts in Hong Kong. Gray has recently exhibited with Gazelli Art House and B. Dewitt Gallery in London, Primary in Nottingham, TURF Projects in Croydon and exhibits internationally in places like LA, New York, Canada, Greece, Copenhagen. They have an upcoming residency at Casa de Dona Laura in Portugal funded by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and have upcoming exhibitions at Lychee One in London and Organon in Odense, Denmark in September 2019.


Jemma’s practice explores the documentation of urban and industrial decline. Her fascination with recording the passage of time is evoked with nostalgia and the questions that arise around the lost and forgotten landscapes. Urban exploration and documenting architectural decline reconnects the present day to the past. She increasingly feels this is important and a way of recording our heritage before it is obliterated from our society. Drawing, photographing and producing prints permit the experience of authenticity of place which is lacking in our forever developing, shiny and pre-fabricated landscapes. Jemma’s recordings invite the viewer to reflect upon the degeneration of architectural spaces and to experience the city as a living museum.

The exquisite craftsmanship of Grinling Gibbons, the celebrated 17th century Master woodcarver, holds a special place at the Art School. Senior Woodcarving Tutor, Peter Thuring, has long been an admirer of the prodigious carver and has just published an elegant book, ‘Grinling Gibbons, The Painter in Wood’, featuring his photography of the famous and substantial collection of Gibbons’ work which adorns the walls in the Carved Room at Petworth House, West Sussex.

Peter Thuring, is an experienced professional photographer and for many years a carver and gilder working for the National Trust from a workshop in Petworth House. He became enthralled by Gibbons’ work when the close proximity of his workshop meant he could make regular trips to the Carved Room to admire the ornate carvings.

He recently embarked on a project to photograph the beautiful Triple Surrounds. His ambition was to present the carvings, for the first time, in the light in which they were originally intended to be seen, as they are currently in a different location from that for which they were originally designed.

This was no simple task. Peter had to take shots from the top of a scaffold tower using powerful lights and a 5×4″ plate camera in order to capture the fine detail and nuance of the work. He was careful to ensure the lighting was poised at the correct angles for each part of the Surround, to show the carvings in the way Gibbons originally intended. The resulting monochrome photographs feature in his new book, ‘Grinling Gibbons, The Painer in Wood’ along with a foreword by Max Egremont, a history of the Carved Room at Petworth by Andrew Loukes and an introduction by Peter.

Peter Thuring is currently leading a new guided element to the curriculum within our Postgraduate Woodcarving Diploma. This part of the curriculum focuses on the work of Grinling Gibbons. Several students on our ornamental wood carving courses are generously supported by The Drapers’ Company (of which Gibbons himself was a member) through The Drapers’ Company Grinling Gibbons Wood Carving Scholarships.

Peter has negotiated an opportunity for postgraduate students to study these carvings from close range during their annual clean, and will direct a close study of the material with a view to the students learning from the techniques of a carver universally recognised as an unparalleled virtuoso of his age.

The Drapers’ Company have generously supported the latest phase of our Masterplan, an ambitious programme  to renovate and enhance the Art School’s studios and facilities, providing a grant towards the creation of a new woodcarving studio in Summer 2018.

For more information about ‘Grinling Gibbons, The Painter in Wood’ by Peter Thuring, please contact the Art School at

‘Intimacy’ is something we have been thinking about in the Art Histories recently; the intimacy of love and a love for art’s objects, and the intimacy we forge with certain ideas. Of course, making engenders a particular kind of closeness with the materials we use; the hand and eye’s special knowledge of material qualities and ‘the shape of things’ is what most art making depends on. But there is also an unquestionable intimacy in the love we have for art made by others. We often love and sometimes fall in love with the objects of art – and it is through our fidelity to that love that we discover something new about those objects, but also something new about ourselves. Research, when it is done well, is arguably an expression of love, which goes some way to explain why the madness of spending all weekend in bed with a book of theory or flying half way round the world just to see an exhibition, visit an archive or hear an artist talk, can feel so right. Writing about art is also an intimate affair, and good art writing can read like a love letter to the art objects of our desire.

I met with Tess Charnley at the Art School soon after she had got back from New York. We sat in the school’s café, and over coffee and cake, spoke about love and intimacy and the gut-felt longing one can have for art’s many things. Tess told me about Wojnarowicz and his death and the complex relationship she has with him. After our meeting Tess wrote the following brilliant and beautiful text and kindly suggested that we publish it here for others to read. For me, When I Put My Hands On Your Body embodies so much of what good art writing can be – it is intimate and honest and longing for something that ultimately can’t be found.

Tom Groves



When I Put My Hands On Your Body

 It was a March day in New York last year, wild with snow. Having spent two days schlepping from closed museum to closed museum, drawing time in cafes and bars, I was jet-lagged and uneasy. I had travelled from London to be in his archive, to follow an interest that I couldn’t seem to satiate at home, and everything was shut. It seemed fitting, considering his fascination with the elements, that this should be what stood between us. But on that Thursday morning, the snow was greying on the pavement as the city began to thaw.

Archives are strange places. They are imbued with so much time; the sense of time that comes with preservation, the time of a life, the time consumed by research. It’s a lot of pressure. Almost like going to meet someone with whom you have been talking online for weeks; you’ve forged a mediated intimacy and now it’s time for the real thing. You can’t know how much a person really turns you on until you sit with them, calculating how many centimetres you would have to move for your skin to be on theirs.

My fascination with David Wojnarowicz began in November 2017, when I first encountered one of his photographs in a small seminar room. The image was of Peter Hujar, his friend, mentor, and few times lover, shot moments after his death from AIDS. The photograph reeked of death and I felt an immediate kinship with Wojnarowicz. It made me dizzy. I hadn’t realised that death looks the same worn by most. The image led me stumbling from the room, propelled backwards again. For weeks, the photograph bounced around my consciousness, the face of its subject interchangeable.

The more I learnt about him, the more my interest grew. He was a writer, a painter, an activist. He died of AIDS. Also, he was sexy; in his descriptions of cruising the Hudson River piers, in the fury of his writing, in the cigarette dangling from his lips and the drawl of his voice. I thought about him incessantly and wrote about him sporadically. I still do.

His archive at Fales is extensive. It includes phone logs, letters, photography, video and reams of journals which he kept predominately in blue linen books with black spines, worn from hundreds of hands like mine. These journals were digitised in 2013 and so I have already scrutinised them from a distance, trying to work him out. But now I am here with dozens laid out before me, my skin reddening despite the snow outside. My ears are hot and I’m aware of a bead of sweat making its way down my arm. It’s a feeling I’ve never had without a man sitting across from me.

Often writing without punctuation, there is an urgency to Wojnarowicz’s words; onomatopoeia for his activism. But the journals are also eccentric and eclectic. Full of drawings; receipts; an old menu from a Chinese takeaway. And here is the magic of the archive. Touching his pages, seeing the way his pen has dented the paper, pulling out the menus, the receipts… Turning over a letter from Peter Hujar’s doctor with his AIDS diagnosis that Wojnarowicz has illustrated with a drawing of two men kissing, to see that his pen has bled through to the other side – the lasting image an intimate embrace.

The main thing I am here to see is the Magic Box. Found under his bed after his death, the Magic Box, an old wooden fruit box with ‘Magic Box’ written on masking tape on its exterior, houses fifty eight objects. According to his biographer, Cynthia Carr, no one knew of the box’s existence while he was alive and it is only once alluded to in his journals. The objects themselves seem disparate, ranging from rosaries and crucifixes to toy insects and miniature globes; dried flowers and photographs to a Buddha sculpture and a skull, but they are the roots of the cosmic symbology that crops up in Wojnarowicz’s work again and again. The snake in Junk Diptych; the maps that appear throughout his work; the ants in The Ant Series, to name a few.

Taking the lid off the box, the musty smell hits my nostrils and I envisage him performing the same action. When was the last time? And what did he retrieve, or deposit? How did he touch these things? Did he sift his fingers through, pulling out a necklace or a toy, or did he close his palms around each object individually, dividing his attention between them. And why? To collect and store these things, to weave them into his work, into his language. They must be significant. And what came first, the objects or the work? The box defines enigma.

I wonder if there’s any of his skin left on the objects, or if its all been rubbed away through years of handling. Fales provide white cotton gloves but don’t insist that they are worn apart from in handling photographs. I am acutely aware that this is the closest I’ll ever come to touching him. My skin on his skin, the object as the medium between us. One by one I lay the ephemera out on a piece of grey foam. They don’t all fit but that’s the fun of it. I can play around as I imagine he used to. Grouping different objects, arranging and re-arranging them, choosing a key player and the supporting roles. My favourite is the cobalt blue skull, the chalkiness of its surface not evident in photographs. Months later, I remember how I was struck by the intensity of its pigment. A similar vividity that sings out from Wojnarowicz’s paintings, blues and reds.

I leave the archive feeling empty in some way, familiar grief inching into my periphery. I want to tell him how I feel, how his work and his words have transformed me but there is a finality in a person’s archive – in seeing once and for all that all is left of a person’s trace is paper and things, flat screens with flickering images, crackling audio recordings that surely can’t come close to the real thing. Even if all of this is housed in one place they only produce a hum of the person, that you’ll chase for hours and never quite locate.

Tess Charnley 2019

Tess Charnley is an independent writer and curator based in London. She has recently curated a group exhibition, Experiment | Control at Blyth Gallery.’ Instagram – @tesscharnley


Tom Groves: How did you first become interested in making your own pigments?

Catalina Christensen: From an early age I have been interested in rocks and colour. With my family we used to visit a small town three hours from Bogota that was surrounded by a desert called La Candelaria – a raised sea-bed turned desert – where you could collect fossils and where colourful rocks were scattered all over the ground. 

In 2015, when I was a student at CGLAS, I went to Colombia and I visited La Candelaria that I knew from childhood, the fossils are long gone, but the colourful rocks are still there. I came upon some Muisca cave paintings, mostly forgotten, after a nearby mine was forced to cease production and the site was closed to the public. After seeing the beautiful red, black and white pictographs that have been there for over 36.000 years, I had the urge to make pigments from the colourful rocks of the desert. Upon further investigation, it turned out that the red paint was made with cinnabar, ochre and some kind of fat.  From then on, in my own work, I decided to use natural materials wherever possible. Currently, I travel to Colombia for a month every year to gather and process rock pigments from the area, unfortunately, in the last couple of years the area has seen a huge increase of weekend homes development threatening the survival of the colourful rocks. I have also started gathering rocks, if possible, from every place I visit.

TG: What was it that caught your imagination about the production of your own pigments? 

CC: During my artistic career, my fascination with experimentation and the alchemy of materials has led me to use unusual materials like egg shells, coffee, burnt matter, wax, etc. Most importantly, even before I started to paint, I have been attracted to pigments and fascinated by colour. There is something very special about finding a colourful rock and grinding it to reveal the pigment.  One of the benefits of making your own pigments is that you decide about their consistency  and depth of colour.  As a result of my attraction to colour, every time I see an interesting colour, my first thought is whether I can make a pigment of it. Never mind if it is a flower, spice, fruit, earth or rock.

Since 2016, one of my main aims has been to have a practice as environmentally neutral as possible. I have migrated away from oil paints and turpentine, in favour of using egg tempera, due to my personal concerns about the environment and freedom, in particular. Increasingly I became quite concerned with the impact of human activities on the earth and its over-exploitation, (as treated in the theory of the Anthropocene epoch), resulting in widespread and increasing destruction of the environment and pollution. This directly threatens the very places that inspire me. Moreover, mass human migrations and the refugee crisis, which have resulted in the creation of walls and barriers to stop the free movement of people and the containment of them in “provisional” refugee settlements with terrible human and natural costs.

The starting point of my work is the collection and preparation of the pigments, an artistic endeavour in itself.  The pigments are as important as the paintings and therefore I include them in my exhibitions along my other works. In fact, I am in the process of creating a comprehensive pigment collection that comprises my own pigments, donations, exchanges with other artists and purchased pigments.

TG: What pigments have you made, and how did you learn the processes involved?

CC: The desire to have an environmentally neutral practice using natural materials required me to find a way to source the appropriate natural materials. Life in the studio reveals a complex and unusual practice: the elaboration of pigments leading to the creation of paintings and 3D objects. This singular style is the ever-evolving product of my experimental nature. Even though I have visited a number of important pigment collections and talked with various pigment experts as well as amateurs, as well as read a lot about pigments, the reality is that I enjoy trying different ways of obtaining/creating pigments.

Sometimes I follow traditional recipes, but I always have the urge to experiment and make it my way. I dream about recreating as many historic pigments as possible with or without my own twist.

Currently, I mostly use natural rock pigments which I mainly collect and process in my native Colombia, and homemade charcoal pigments for the earth inspired works from memories of places like La Candelaria and the Atacama desserts. For the more ethereal works inspired by Antarctica, Iceland and the Arctic, it was impossible to collect raw materials in-situ. One either cannot ethically/legally gather rocks in these locations, or the majority are volcanic with a hint of colour in the surface and impossible to grind.

After much experimentation, I have started using indigo dye, metal powders and their compounds reduced and oxidised through the application of chemical processes, which resulted in an amazing array of colours perfect to represent the memories of the above mentioned locations. I am very excited with the prospect of creating as many nuances as possible.

The characteristics of the new beautiful colours were unknown to me. I was concerned that some of the colours may fade with time, but I was uncertain as to how much. With the generous support of Colart, I have been able to test many samples in a Q-Sun Xenon Test Chamber for the fastness of the colours in the next 0 – 50 years and 50 – 100 years.

Fortunately, almost all the colours have performed really well, so I can happily continue to use the metal pigments in my work. As with any pigments, there will inevitably be small changes to the colours over time – in that sense the paintings have their own evolution, which I rather like. The changes will remain minimal, and if the paintings are covered with glass and/or hung indirectly to the sun basically non-existent. On the other hand, I can create ephemeral works with the few pigments that do fade over time.

The Art School’s Head of Historic Carving, Tim Crawley, has been at the centre of a major renovation project on the Great Pagoda at Kew Gardens. The restored pagoda was re-opened to the public on 13th July.


When originally built in 1763, each corner of the eaves of this octagonal structure was adorned with highly polychromed dragons varying in length from around five feet at the top of the tapering tower, to around eight feet at the bottom. In the 1780’s the dragons were removed. Tim was selected to design a new set of dragons to be reinstated on the building. The original colour scheme of the building was reinstated, with the dragons painted in iridescent glazes with gilded highlights.

A host of carvers worked on the project which required 80 new dragons to be crafted, and a number of carving tutors and alumni from City & Guilds of London Art School were commissioned to carve the sculptures. 72 of the dragons were 3D printed and eight carved from African Red Cedar wood.

In creating the design of the new dragons, Tim researched the original dragon designs with reference to engravings and paintings from the time of the construction and analysed similar works from the period. He then modelled prototypes in clay that were translated into full-size carvings by Art School alumnus Paul Jewby in his workshop in Suffolk. These carvings were then 3D scanned.



The 72 dragons that have been 3D printed are fixed to the top levels of the ten-storey structure whilst the eight pieces carved in the traditional manner adorn the lower storey. Art School alumni, John Shield assisted by David White, and Robert Randall (also the Art School’s de Laszlo Senior Wood Carving Tutor) assisted by Ashley Sands, David Mendieta and Sigridur Sigurdardottir were part of the team involved in carving the dragons.

Tim was selected to take a lead role in this restoration due to his projects restoring the architectural sculpture on such buildings as Temple Bar, St George’s Bloomsbury and King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. Commenting on the restoration, Tim says, “These ornamental dragons play a very significant part in the exotic effect of the building, with their dramatic silhouettes and sparkling finish, so it was important that they should be reinstated. It was also a wonderful opportunity for a large group of woodcarvers to work on this unusually grand architectural scale.”

A set of short videos following the creative process involved in recreating the dragons can be found here. The Art School’s Tim Crawley and Robert Randall are featured explaining their part in the restoration.

All tutors at the Art School are practising professionals working in their specialist fields. This can often lead to unique opportunities for students and recent alumni and also provides an important professional network on graduation. Recent Art School collaborations with important historic buildings includes the design and replacement of corbel heads and other restoration projects at Southwark Cathedral and the creation of grotesques to adorn St George’s Chapel, Windsor.



  1. Great Pagoda, Kew Gardens, featuring the new dragons
  2. One of the carved, wooden dragons
  3. Alumnus, John Shield
  4. Senior Woodcarving Tutor, Robert Randall

Images courtesy of Robert Randall.


Here are few photos of our Winter party where professionals were invited to meet our students during an evening of festive treats and discuss their final year projects which were on display in the studios.

Every year, we hire an external X-ray machine to investigate what’s inside some objects and see any hiden cracks and structural problems. We can see here Julian Johns from Chiswell Imaging Ltd with some of our final students taking some X-rays in our studios and developing them immediately onsite.

The Art Histories Department is delighted to announce the inaugural awarding of the CGLAS Art Monthly Prize for Critical Writing.

The prize is unique within the UK and judged by Chris McCormack Associate Editor and Production Manager of the highly influential journal Art Monthly who this year selected three outstanding theses from the BA (Fine Art) third year and one overall winner.

Chris commented on the ‘depth of research’ and ‘freshness of voice’ in the theses he read and remarked on their incredibly high level of critical thinking.

Nell Nicholas’ Exploring the Significance of Site in Michael Rakowitz’s “The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist”, and Cora Sehgal-Cuthbert’s  The Space Beneath: The Unintended Consequences of the Underpass, in Tallow by Joseph Beuys, This is England by Shane Meadows and Affect Bridge Age Regression by Mark Leckey were selected as the the runners-up, and Megan Elliot’s On Being Human:How is the body represented in Cécile B Evans’ What the Heart Wants was the 2018 overall winner.



Sally Kindberg is an author, illustrator, and comic strip maker. She was born in Devon – almost in the sea – and grew up in Nottingham.  She came to London to make her fortune after completing a BA in Graphic Design, has written and illustrated over thirty children’s non-fiction books, illustrated many more, and is a City of London Guide, which came in useful when researching and writing a book about London.

Sally illustrated regularly for the Guardian and Independent newspapers, eventually writing a travel column and features for them. One of her many travel assignments included going to Elf School in Reykjavik.  Her comic strip commissions include a CBBC series and books for Bloomsbury Children’s Books, including one about Space.

Sally has run many workshops for children, families and adults in places as diverse as the Outer Hebrides, China and Swedenborg House in London. Workshop participants have included migrant workers’ children in Beijing, dancers in Shetland and psychotherapists in London. Sally collects robots amongst other things, and is the Curator of a Museum of Dust.

The Hand Book (of hopes and dreams) will be published by Design For Today in 2019.  Sally is currently working on Unfinished Business, an unreliable memoir in comic strip form.


Tom Groves, Head of the Art Histories Department has invited artist Corey Bartle-Sanderson to produce a series of photographic works inspired by the creative environment of the art school. Corey spent several days in the school closely observing the objects and materials in our wood and stone workshops, fine art studios, and conservation labs. In keeping with his own fascination with the juxtapositions between traditional materials and the aesthetics and values of today’s consumer culture, Bartle-Sanderson’s highly sensitive response unearths the ways in which certain histories, ideologies, agencies and affects play themselves out through the material environment of the school.


The Art School is delighted to congratulate recent graduate Nell Nicholas (BA (Hons) Fine Art 2018), who won the prestigious Clyde & Co Art Award 2018, for her painting ‘Ridley Road’.

The winning entry was selected from over 30 recent alumni from leading UK art schools. We’re also very proud of our alumni who were shortlisted for the award – Maria Positano, Samuel de Gunzburg, Elk O’Sullivan , Edgar Ward,  Thomas Pennick,  Annie Rose, Polly Bennett and Mary Desbruslais.

This year’s alumni success at the Clyde & Co Art Award follows the achievement of Lucas Dupuy (BA (Hons) Fine Art 2017) who took home the award in 2017.

The Clyde & Co Art Award, now in its sixth year, continues to nurture and encourage emerging talent in the visual arts by supporting art graduates in their professional development and paying them fairly to show their work – both vital elements to enable them to sustain their practice.

We are thrilled to also announce that Art School alumnus Benedict Hughes (MA Fine Art 2016), was one of the winners of the Young Talent Contemporary Purchase Prize 2018, with Maria Positano shortlisted.  Again, this follows the success of Fine Art graduate Harrison Pearce, who was one of the winners in 2017 with his piece ‘Interview (Prototype)’. The Purchase Prize Exhibition sets out to celebrate and support the work of young artists at the outset of their careers.

Congratulations to all!


In a brilliant lecture about her creative practice and research platform Tenderfoot, Artist and writer Laura White introduces our Fine Art students to a range of strategies to rethink and reimagine the stuff of our material world.

Laura’s work revolves around a ‘negotiation with the world of STUFF’, and seeks to examine our interactions with materials and objects and ask critical questions about their ‘value, profile, association, meaning and behavior’.  Laura is fascinated with the ways Things act as both material stuff and anthropological signifiers, that are capable of revealing the human condition – vulnerabilities and capabilities, value systems affected by consumerism and material status, and objects/human dependencies.

During the workshop, our students asked all manner of questions including ‘how might sound enable us to describe what a hole feels like‘, ‘why a thin film of plastic, frustrates the hands’ desire to touch and be touched‘ and ‘what does the internet weigh? ‘. In a discussion around one of the workshop activities, Fine Art Student Amelie Peace described watching her blindfolded classmate Rose Shuckburgh work out what she was holding as an ‘almost sensuous experience’.

At CGLAS the essential properties of all things, whether they are paper-thin, hard as nails, soft to the touch, sticky, slimy or digitalized, fascinate us. Laura’s lecture and workshop gave us an inspired insight into how such research preoccupations can be made manifest in material things.

On 10th December, from 6-9pm CGLAS Art Histories lecturer Oriana Fox will present The O Show  at Block 336.

Be part of a live audience and join Oriana, a professional artist and doctor of philosophy who hosts the kind of chat show you’ve always wanted to see.The O Show provides fresh inspiration and straight talk from the mouths of artists, psychologists and activists who, like mainstream TV chat show guests, have little to no difficulty ‘spilling the beans’, even when their lives and opinions defy expectations and convention.


We are thrilled to announce that the Art School is now offering a new BA (Hons) and two new MA courses, commencing in 2019/20. Our BA (Hons) Historic Carving, with pathways in Woodcarving & Gilding or Architectural Stone, MA Carving (which can also be taken as a PGDip Carving) and MA Art & Material Histories, were all recently validated by Ravensbourne University London, and are now open for applications.



Based on our longstanding and well-respected historic carving diplomas and postgraduate diplomas, our BA (Hons) and MA degrees in Historic Carving are unique and the ONLY carving courses available at this level in the UK.

Led by Master carver and Head of Historic Carving Tim Crawley, who has worked on some of the country’s most important restoration projects, the courses benefit from the experience and expertise of a team of established practising professionals, renowned within the heritage sector.

“The achievement of both BA (Hons) and MA status, is important in that it recognises the quality of our long-established programmes, and sets them within an international framework of academic achievement, opening up a new world of opportunities for graduates. The Diploma and PGDip programmes that these new courses replace, developed and evolved over many years and have proved very effective in preparing students for professional practice as freelance specialist carvers and for work in the heritage and art sectors. We are delighted that the quality of our teaching and the standard of our students’ work has been recognised in this way.

The course content with its emphasis very much on making and the acquisition and refinement of carving and related sculptural skills, remains unchanged for both courses, and we have further enhanced some elements with even more opportunities for live projects and professional experience now embedded in the curricula.”

A combination of expert tutors, bespoke facilities, prestigious live commissions and restoration projects and a holistic syllabus that includes observational drawing, modelling, casting, anatomy and Art Histories, ensures that graduates from the Art School’s Historic Carving courses are sought after in the heritage sector and regularly forge successful careers in their chosen field.




Our new MA Art & Material Histories course has developed from the Art Histories programmes that are integral to all the undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the Art School. It sets out to investigate Art Histories through the lens of materials and is unique in the UK with its focus on the links between material, critical, scientific and historical enquiry.

Students will be taught through lectures, seminars, group and individual tutorials, reading groups and study visits and will consider and scrutinise the use of materials in a range of historical and contemporary artworks and material objects. Workshop access will provide opportunities for students to think about art and material histories more directly.

The course benefits from its position in an Art School that focuses equally on contemporary art, materials science, historical enquiry and the teaching of both historical and contemporary skills.   Material Matters, the Art School’s research platform that interrogates a different material on a biannual basis, will provide students with opportunities to engage with leading experts and to present their research in a range of contexts

Tom Groves (Head of the Art Histories Department) says “the course is both unique and timely in that it enables students to underpin their theoretical research with ‘hands-on’ experience of the very materials art has, and is, made from. This distinctive feature of the course enables students to develop their ‘material literacy’ and in so doing, ground their thinking about art, its complex meanings and affects. More and more we are coming to realise that the most important contributions to art’s histories come from writers and thinkers who value the discoveries of the hand equally to those of the eye or intellect.”

The new Historic Carving and Art Histories courses are now open for application, with open days available for interested students to explore the Art School, meet the tutors and students and get a feel for studying with us.

The addition of these Historic Carving and Art Histories degrees, means that the Art School now offers BA (Hons) courses in Fine Art, Conservation and Historic Carving and MA courses in Fine Art, Conservation, Carving and Art & Material Histories.



Students and recent graduates on the Art School’s Diploma Architectural Stone Carving course (recently validated as BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone for 2019/20) were commissioned by The Fishmongers’ Company and The Haberdashers’ Company to carve two war memorials to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War I (1914-1918).

Stone carvers Edgar Ward and George Edwards, who both graduated from the Art School in June 2018, were commissioned to design and carve a war memorial by The Haberdashers’ Company. Edgar and George designed and carved the Company’s coat of arms and the lettering respectively. The inscription reads: “For those members of the Company & its schools who fell in the service of their country. We will remember them”.

First and Second year Historic Carving Diploma students, Susan Aperghis, Daniel Burbidge, Tristan Delpouve and Heather Griffith, worked together on a memorial commemorating The Fishmongers’ Company members who lost their lives in the war. The memorial is made from four pieces of stone, which were shaped by Daniel. Heather, Tristan and Daniel carved the three main panels of lettering, whilst Susan carved and gilded the Latin inscription “Ad majorem dei gloriam pro rege pro patria”, which translates as “To the greater glory of God. For King. For Country.” and is an intentional echo of the inscription on the Menin Gate at Ypres. Susan also designed and carved the heraldic shield.

The two commissions were overseen by Tom Young, Senior Lettering Tutor at the Art School, who designed The Fishmongers’ Company’s memorial and lettering.  He runs his own letter cutting workshop in London.

The graduates and students worked on the commissions at Tom’s workshop and at the Art School over the summer break and the memorials have now both been installed in the livery companies’ grand Halls in London. Both Companies were delighted with their memorials with Dr David Bartle, The Haberdashers’ Company Archivist describing the work as “a triumph of carving and exactly what we were looking for”, and Peter Capon, The Fishmongers’ Company Head of Collection, calling their carving “a fitting tribute to both those who gave their lives and also those that worked to preserve life”, a reference to Fishmongers’ Hall’s tenure as a Royal Red Cross Hospital for the duration of the First World War.

Tom says “These were two important commissions that demonstrate the value of working collaboratively and the importance of understanding how to use lettering both as the dominant element of a design, but also in a supporting role to complement the drawing, modelling and carving skills learnt on the course.”

The Art School has had a long, collaborative relationship with many of the Livery Companies, including The Skinners’ Company, The Drapers’ Company and The Worshipful Company of Grocers.

Many of the Livery Companies support the Art School through charitable donations used for student bursaries, scholarships and prizes, and have helped fund the staged development of the Art School building, known as the Masterplan. They also work with our specialist tutors to offer students commissions, an integral part of preparation for professional practice.

As well as providing commissions, such as the war memorial, to the Art School, The Fishmongers’ Company currently supports an Art School-wide Menu Cover Design Prize, open to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Art School, Masterplan development fund and our bursaries and scholarships scheme.

The quantity, variety and prestige of commissions that are available to students on our Historic Carving and Conservation degree courses, are one of the reasons these courses are so unique. Graduates are sought after in the art and heritage sector, with a high percentage finding work in their chosen field.

Oil on canvas, 100x250cm

John Moores Painting Prize UK & China Prize Winners Show is an exhibition of paintings by Martin Greenland, winner of the John Moores Painting Prize in 2006, Nicholas Middleton, twice winner of the John Moore’s Visitors Choice Prize 2006 and 2010, showing alongside Xueqing Zhong, JMPP China winner 2018, Duan Xiaogang and Huo Xumin, JMPP China prizewinners 2018. Part of the Liverpool Independents Biennial 2018.

Corke Gallery, 296-298 Aigburth Road, Liverpool, L17 9PW

Private view: Friday 12 October, 6pm – 8.30pm
The exhibition runs until Friday 30 November 2018 and is open 10am – 2pm from Thursday to Saturday.

Senior Stone Carver, and eminent British architectural sculptor, Nina Bilbey, is touring New York and Philadelphia, in the US, raising awareness of the range of specialist courses available at the Art School and the recently launched Study Abroad programme. Nina is visiting higher education institutions and related organisations, giving talks and meeting students and faculty staff.

As part of  her transatlantic tour, she is speaking at The Compleat Sculptor, an arts and craft skills supplies emporium in New York City, where students and tutors can meet Nina and learn about the Art School, our specialist BA and MA degrees, and the chance to study with us in London, UK, for one or two semesters.

If you’re in the area, come along and find out more about the City & Guilds of London Art School – a real art school. 

November 12 Monday from 6pm-8pm

The Compleat Sculptor, 90 Vandam Street NYC 10013



City & Guilds of London Art School is a small, specialist art school with an outstanding reputation for excellence in the traditional skills of historic stone and wood carving, conservation, and contemporary fine art. Located since 1879 in one of London’s finest Georgian terraces, the School nurtures and supports its community of undergraduate and postgraduate students. The courses have strong links with the British Museum, the Palace of Westminster, the V & A, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Royal Collections Trust amongst many others.  You can find out more about the semester study abroad programme here.

Nina Bilbey is senior stone carving tutor on the Historic Carving BA and Masters courses. An eminent architectural sculptor, she comes from a family of Master Craftsmen, and has been carving stone for well over thirty years. Her numerous commissions include statues of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh for the west front of Canterbury Cathedral. In 2017, she was awarded the Prince Philip medal for her outstanding leadership as both a stone carver and teacher.




On Saturday 20 October 2018, the Art School held an unusual group drawing class as part of The Big Draw 2018.  Our Big Circle Draw event, which was open to view by the public, was a traditional drawing class with a twist!


A group of Art School students and alumni sat in a large circle. With a continuing series of short exercises, each artist took it in turn to play model and every drawing produced by the circle was captured digitally to form an animation that grew as the afternoon continued.


The group was taught by City & Guilds of London Art School drawing tutor and co-author of ‘Drawing Projects: An Exploration of the Language of Drawing’, Jack Southern.

At the Art School we see drawing as fundamental to all our courses. Under the direction of Diane Magee, our Drawing Studio is at the heart of the Art School’s activities, primarily focusing on the role that observational drawing plays in stimulating and facilitating the development of artists and crafts specialists across our Undergraduate and Postgraduate Degree courses in Fine Art, Historic Carving and Conservation of cultural objects.

We hope to take part in The Big Draw 2019 – you can find out more information about our upcoming events here.



Combining my interests of museology, science, and my surrounding landscape, I undertake investigations that seek to re-visualise an experience of my own, and ignite an experience in the viewer.

The natural world has always interested me, and I spend a lot of my free time exploring my surroundings on walks, which I record in immediate formats such as photos, sketches, maps, coordinates, rubbings, as I am fascinated by topography and how it differs around the world. Through these immediate responses I create both two-dimensional and three-dimensional artwork, which tend to go through transformations, to subsequently trigger memories of my experiences.

What really stayed with you from your time at the Art School?

The generosity and patience of the tutors really stood out for me. I remember several, very long tutorials which completely changed the way I thought about art. Because there were so many one to one tutorials, I felt that the tutors really understood what interested me and the help they gave was always very specific.


What projects were you involved in while studying at the Art School?

I had trained and worked as a portrait painter before starting the MA, so for me the course was about trying to understand the theory surrounding painting. Mostly I looked at the ‘myths’ associated with the canon of western art. For the final show I made a series of paintings, investigating the connection between Rococo paintings by Fragonard and Boucher and contemporary aesthetic expressions of the feminine.


What are you up to now?

I’m working towards my first show with Parafin early next year. At the moment I’m on a six-week residency organised by @thegreatwomentartists in Italy at Palazzo Monti.

Image credit: Peter Mallet

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Jeanne Callanan, who recently received her MA (Distinction) in Conservation, travelled to Paris earlier in September, to give a paper at the LACONA XII conference.


The LACONA conference (Lasers in the Conservation of Artworks) is a series of congresses begun in 1995 which are devoted to the application of lasers for cleaning artworks,  the use of lasers as analytical tools and achieving a better understanding of the impact of lasers.

Jeanne’s paper, “Lasers and Ivory: An Analysis and Case Study”, presented the results of her conservation treatment of a nineteenth century Chinese ivory lidded basket and of her research on the effects of the Nd:YAG Q-switched (1064 nm) and Er:YAG (2940 nm) laser systems on ivory.


The conference was an excellent opportunity for Jeanne to showcase her work and to meet other conservators from Europe and America who are using lasers in their practices. It was also a chance to showcase the important work being undertaken at the Art School on an international stage.

Commenting on her experience at the conference, Jeanne says, “When I was asked to present a paper at LACONA XII I was thrilled to be part of such an influential event, attended by conservation professionals from around the world. My research findings were very well received by the conference attendees, and I had the opportunity to network with many conservators and scientists in the heritage sector.”

Jeanne was our very first MA Conservation student, and came to the Art School with an impressive academic and professional portfolio. She already has an MA (Distinction) in History of Art and Archaeology from SOAS, University of London  and has worked for Sotheby’s New York as a Specialist in the Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art Department, the National Gallery and the V&A Museum.

The research Jeanne undertook for her MA Conservation focused on comparing the effects of different laser systems for cleaning ivory. She used Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) in the Materials Science Department, Imperial College, to analyse changes to the surface chemistry of the ivory after irradiation and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) as a complementary analytical technique.

The Art School acquired the state-of-the-art Nd:YAG Q-switched (1064 nm) laser in 2008, and is the only UK conservation teaching institution enabling students to investigate important new cleaning techniques using this technology.

The exquisite, Chinese, nineteenth century ivory basket used in Jeanne’s research project is from the Portland Collection, and is just one of the historical objects loaned to our Conservation Department for conservation projects. We have built up an impressive list of collaborators, both public institutions and private collectors, who regularly loan objects on this basis. Many collaborators also offer internships, work placements and live commissions, which provide essential professional experience for our students.

We’re very proud of Jeanne’s impressive achievements and will follow her career with interest as she continues to excel in the heritage sector.

The Art School celebrated the achievements of its 2018 graduating MA Fine Art and MA Conservation students in a Prize-Giving and Celebration event that took place on Monday 10 September, and was followed by the MA Show Private View.


Tamiko O’Brien, Art School Principal, opened the ceremony with a congratulatory address to the graduands and was followed  by Senior Fine Art Tutors, Teresita Dennis and Andy Bannister, who presented the MA certificates.

After entertaining graduand addresses from Flora Malpas and Ubada Muti, the 2018 awards and prizes were presented by Director of the Art School Property Trust, Magnus von Wistinghausen. Artist Wendy Smith presented the Tony Carter Award, created in memory of her late husband, with a heart-felt speech that was warmly received, and she was followed by Thomas Groves, Head of Art Histories, presenting the Prize For Outstanding Critical Engagement and Kimberley Ahmet, Senior Manager, Artists’ Collecting Society, presenting the coveted ACS Studio Award to Natanya Barrett.

The ceremony finished with closing remarks from the Chair of CGLAS Trustees, Robin Holland-Martin, and the evening progressed with a bustling Private View. The MA Show remained open until Sunday 16 September, with a steady flow of visitors coming to admire the outstanding range of work on display.


As well as featuring the work of MA Fine Art and MA Conservation students, the MA Show included exhibits from the Art School’s four artists in residence: John Greenwood; Katie Pratt; Jamie Shovlin; Takumi Kato.  The work of our Fellows in Printmaking, Woodworking and Decorative Surfaces and MA Fine Art Year 1 (interim show) also featured.



The Tony Carter Award:  Eliza Bennett

The ACS City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Award:  Natanya Barrett

City & Guilds of London Art School Prize for Outstanding Critical Engagement:  Ubada Muti

City & Guilds of London Art School Prize for Outstanding MA Fine Art Exhibition:   Ubada Muti

City & Guilds of London Art School Prize for Outstanding Work in Print:  Flora Malpas

The Sir Roger de Grey Drawing Prize:  Laura Hudson

The Norman Ackroyd Prize for Etching:  Ubada Muti

The Slaughterhaus Printmaking Prize:  Flora Malpas



  1. Tamiko O’Brien, Art School Principal
  2. Teresita Dennis and Andy Bannister, Senior Fine Art Tutors
  3. Ubada Muti receiving the Prize for Outstanding Critical Engagement
  4. Kimberley Ahmet presenting the ACS Studio Award to Natanya Barrett
  5. Robin Holland-Martin, Chair of CGLAS Trustees
  6. Various – Private View

Our 1st year students have started this week with Plaster Cast taught by the wonderful Kim Amis. They have been casting all sort of things prickly pear, artichoke, garlic, apple and even toes! You can see on this post the progression of this first exciting module.


We are delighted to announce that celebrated artist, printmaker and Royal Academician Norman Ackroyd will be hosting a two-day Masterclass in our historic Print Room in October 2018.

Copyright Anne Purkiss

On Day One, Ackroyd will demonstrate the sugar-lift aquatint process and how he uses it in his practise. Day Two will be a workshop for a smaller number of participants, where you will work with the artist to create your own sugar-lift etchings. Due to high demand, Day Two of the Masterclass is fully booked but there is still chance to book onto Day One. You can book your place here.

Professor Norman Ackroyd CBE RA ARCA, is renowned for his haunting prints and watercolours of landscapes and seascapes from around the British Isles. His work has been exhibited throughout the world, with numerous UK and international solo exhibitions and inclusion in a host of worldwide collections.

The sugar-lift aquatint etching process that Ackroyd will be demonstrating, was first created and employed by Paul Sandby in the 18th century and advanced by Picasso, with his technician Roger Lacourière, in the 1930s. Ackroyd has developed a slightly different approach to the technique, based on the Lacourière principles and will show how he uses the process to create his sublime imagery.

The Art School’s Print Room is the venue for this Etching Masterclass. Norman Ackroyd was instrumental in re-establishing the Print Room as a thriving centre for teaching and practice after being invited in 1995 to consider its potential for the future. Today, it is one of a few places teaching the full range of traditional intaglio techniques, keeping the bridge to the Old Masters open. Our Print Room tutors, led by Jason Hicklin, are all practising artists. Art School students have daily access to the Print Room and are encouraged to gain confidence and experience in the same techniques, problems and solutions as those employed by Rembrandt, Goya and Picasso.

All proceeds from this two-day event will go towards supporting the Art School’s Print Room, helping to ensure we can continue to teach the historic printing and etching processes to new generations of artists.

You can find out more and book a place on the Etching Masterclass with Norman Ackroyd here.

Akira Inman recently graduated from our Diploma in Architectural Stone Carving course in June 2017. He has started working on a conservation project at Stavanger Domkirke in Norway, and here he writes about his experience of this fascinating programme. His account has also been printed in Forum, the journal of the Letter Exchange.

“I am very fortunate to be the first permanent stone carver on-site in a long-term conservation project on the 900-year-old cathedral, Stavanger Domkirke in the coastal city of Stavanger, Norway. Scheduled to be completed by 2025, it is commissioned by the Municipality of Stavanger with the Archeological Museum of Stavanger (University of Stavanger), my employers, who were awarded with the contract. The museum’s role is to restore and conserve all of the stone elements, both the exterior envelope and the building interior.

Cathedral of Stavanger, Norway. Own photography. {{cc-by-sa-2.5}}

Stavanger Cathedral, dated from 1125, is a Romanesque structure but was rebuilt and ‘modernised’ with a Gothic choir in the 1300’s after a fire in 1272. At the time of construction, Stavanger was a very small community with no history of erecting large stone structures: it is thought that the presiding bishop imported stonemasons from his hometown of Winchester. Perhaps through me they are following the tradition of hiring out some of the stonework to a non-Norwegian.

My background is in creative new-builds and heritage stone masonry, dry stone walling, and plaster conservation. Most recently I completed a three-year stone carving diploma program at City & Guilds of London Art School. While at C&G I was awarded the Idun Ravndal work/travel grant to Norway. This is how I met the Norwegian carving community and was introduced to two of their more well-known stone cathedrals; Nidaros Domkirke in Trondheim and Stavanger Domkirke. Both are undergoing significant restoration.

My responsibilities include carving stone mouldings and gothic ornamental carvings that have been included in the scope of the repair works. We are currently working on the East elevation of the building where most of the work involves correcting the previous restorations (1867, 1920, and 1984). As is often the case with ancient buildings that have evolved since their original construction, Stavanger Domkirke is a palimpsest of past architectural styles and conservation interventions: the cathedral displays a variety of techniques and approaches to conservation and the decorative arts. These past interventions, using modern materials such as ferrous dowels, cement and synthetic resins, are the direct causes of damage. Additionally the prosperous 19th century fish canning industry’s smoke from the smoking of the fish added to the air pollution, along with sea mist and the weather.

The cathedral is predominantly built with Gneiss, granite and greenschist but the east elevation, decorations, doorjambs and quoins are carved from soapstone (called kleberstein) which is quarried locally in Norway. The stone I am working with is the kleberstein: it is a dense, low porosity metamorphic with a high talc content making it soft and easily workable, at least when there are no inclusions of dolomite interfering with my chisel. It is also very resistant to heat – a valuable trait utilized from ancient times as cooking vessels and used for trade throughout the Viking and Medieval periods. Although there were many quarries available in the past, a significant proportion of them are now protected heritage sites; currently only one of them, Målselv, (also protected), supplies
carving-grade kleberstein to both Nidaros and our cathedral. Fortunately it possesses a large quantity of stone that has already been extracted and Nidaros’ workshop, being a larger operation than ours, can process the stones for us. With similar interests, conservation ethics and principles to Nidaros Domkirke we have been able to share knowledge and expertise along with our most basic natural resource.

Our approach to this project is not only to physically restore the domkirken but to encourage and preserve the traditional crafts and techniques required for authenticity in the process. In the case of Stavanger, all stone carving is by hand and we are using only lime-based mortars for our construction. In the past, considerable efforts were made on construction work for log houses and stave churches, through the Riksantikvaren (Directorate of Cultural History in Norway) Middle Ages Program and later through the Stavkirke (Stavechurch) program. For these decades-long initiatives, carpenters and joiners were trained in medieval craftsmanship and material understanding. A similar effort has not until now been seen for traditional masonry and stonework.

At Stavanger Domkirke, there is great care taken in the documentation of all aspects of this project and fortunately we have the capacity to save and store all the stones being replaced. It is too often the case that when a building is restored most of the stone elements removed are destroyed in the process, usually for budgetary or logistical constraints or both. In our case, the size of the cathedral and therefore the quantity of disturbed materials allows for a reasonably-sized safe space for storage for the benefit of future interests and investigations into our own historical moment in time, heritage and craftsmanship. Another unique aspect of this project is the use of the archaeological museum’s scientific resources to test materials in order to explore traditional techniques. Specifically,
the kleberstein used extensively in our cathedral is little known outside Norway and rarely used for carved ornament or masonry building. It is therefore something of a renewed field of study.


I work in a small and diverse team made up of fixer masons, conservators and researchers, all from different backgrounds, education and countries: four of whom are graduates of C&G. The size of the team facilitates a healthy sharing of knowledge. I am nowhere near fluent in speaking and reading Norwegian yet, but I look forward to learning more in order to delve into their literature and research surrounding Stavanger Domkirke and Norway’s heritage history.”



Site Technician – City & Guilds of London Art School

The Art School is seeking to appoint a Site Technician to work as member of our Site Team. With the Art School’s particular focus on skills-based teaching and a commitment to cultivate knowledge and curiosity in both the historical and contemporary contexts of our subjects, all of our technicians play a crucial role as key members of the Art School’s community. The Site Technician role is particularly appropriate for creative, technically gifted individuals who are good at problem solving and understand the complexities of art and craft production and display and the resulting health and safety implications.

For further details about how to apply, please visit the links below:

Job Description: JOB_DESCRIPTION_Carving_Technician.doc

Person Specification: PERSON_SPECIFICATION_Carving-_Technician.docx

Application Form: CityGuildsArtSchool_JOB_APPLICATION_FORM_June2018.docx

Application Submission Deadline: Midnight of Wednesday 24th October 2018

Please send the completed Application Form and other required documents to: Mari Shiba at

Digital Media Technician – City & Guilds of London Art School

The Art School is seeking a Digital Media Technician 1 day per week during Term Time to run workshops and support students with their work.  Ideally you will be a practising artist with professional experience of Digital Media for your own work.

For further details about how to apply, please visit the links below:

Job Description: JOB_DESCRIPTION_Digital_Media_Technician.pdf

Person Specification: PERSON_SPECIFICATION_Digital_Media_Technician_2018.pdf

Application Form: JOB_APPLICATION_FORM_June2018.docx

Application Submission Deadline: Midnight of Friday 28th September 2018

Please send the completed Application Form and other required documents to: Mari Shiba at

Casting Technician – City & Guilds of London Art School

The Art School is seeking a Casting Technician 1 day per week during Term Time to support students with their work.  Ideally you will have professional experience of mould making and casting and some experience of ceramics.

For further details about how to apply, please visit the links below:

Job Description: JOB_DESCRIPTION_Casting_Room_Technician.pdf

Person Specification: PERSON_SPECIFICATION_Casting_Technician_2018.pdf

Application Form: JOB_APPLICATION_FORM_June2018.docx

Application Submission Deadline: Midnight of Friday 28th September 2018

Please send the completed Application Form and other required documents to: Mari Shiba at

We are delighted to announce that our 2017/18 graduating students have ranked their experience at the Art School very highly and surpassing the higher education sector average, in the National Student Survey (NSS), which has now published its 2018 results.

100% of our final year students eligible to complete the survey who graduated in June 2018, chose the top score, ‘Definitely Agree’, to one of the main statements on the survey – ‘Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course’.

There were many more positive results.

100% of students chose ‘Definitely Agree’ to the statement ‘My course has provided me with opportunities to apply what I have learnt’.

96% of students chose ‘Definitely Agree’ to eight statements including: ‘My course has challenged me to achieve my best work’;  ‘My course has provided me with opportunities to explore ideas or concepts in depth’;  ‘Good advice was available when I needed to make study choices on my course’; ‘The library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well’;  ‘I have had the right opportunities to work with other students as part of my course’.

93% of students chose ‘Definitely Agree’ to six statements including: ‘I have received sufficient advice and guidance in relation to my course’; ‘The course is intellectually stimulating’;  ‘Staff value students’ views and opinions about the course’; ‘It is clear how students’ feedback on the course has been acted on’.

Art School Principal, Tamiko O’Brien, commented:

“The NSS results are a testament to our incredibly talented team of specialist Tutors, Technicians, Heads of Department and Administrators, and their great energy and dedication to provide our students with such a stimulating and supportive learning environment. Our shared goal is to see all of our students flourish and succeed as practitioners. For us Higher Education in Art and Craft is essentially collaborative – it takes the whole team, including our students, to create the purposeful and creative community that we all enjoy participating in.

We know that our commitment to our students is reflected in their commitment to their studies and we are very proud of our 2018 graduates and their outstanding achievements. This summer’s excellent Degree Show received high praise from the external examiners, the many professionals from the Arts and Heritage industries who joined our celebrations and of course from the members of public we were happy to welcome to the Art School.”

The results of the NSS, commissioned by the Government’s Office for Students, are important to applicants deciding which higher education institution to attend. The survey helps to inform prospective students’ choices, provide data that supports institutions in improving the student experience and supports public accountability.

The survey asks final year students to rank all aspects of their experience of studying on their chosen course and includes statements on teaching, learning opportunities, academic support, learning resources, student voice and more.

We are examining the results of the NSS in detail alongside other feedback we collect directly from our students, graduates, student representative forum and staff teams to ensure that we continue to offer our students the best possible learning experience and the support they need to excel.

The City & Guilds of London Art School is a ‘not for profit’ charitable institution, providing a valuable alternative to other models of Art education in the UK at Postgraduate, Undergraduate and Foundation levels. The Art School has a mission to foster excellence in contemporary Fine Art, Historic Carving, Conservation and Design. It does this in part by providing students with a very high level of contact time with artist tutors and professional experts.

The Art School is seeking to appoint a Foundation Sessional Tutor (Design). With the Art School’s particular focus on skills-based teaching and a commitment to cultivate knowledge and curiosity in both the historical and contemporary contexts of our subjects, our staff play a crucial role as key members of the Art School’s community, working closely with the Heads of Department and liaising with other specialist tutors. This role requires great flexibility and adaptability as well as a broad skills and knowledge base. There are approximately 90 students in the Foundation Department working towards a range of progression destinations – both Fine Art and Design.


Foundation Sessional Staff

You will have specialist knowledge of your own subject and its professional and/or research frameworks and an understanding of current Design agendas as well as the context for both Art and Design in the UK and Internationally.

The main purposes of the post are:

* To deliver high quality specialist teaching and related support to students on the Foundation course, in the context of curriculum content, established learning outcomes and teaching methodologies, prevailing policies and procedures.

* To provide up-to-date knowledge, expertise and experience of professional practice and/or research in at least one of the following Design areas:

Fashion, Textiles, Product or Architectural Design

For further details about how to apply, please visit the links below:


Person Specification: PERSON SPECIFICATION.FAD_Design

Application Form: CityAndGuildsArtSchool_JobApplicationForm_VersJune2018

Application Deadline: Thursday 9 August 2018 at midnight

Interview on: Thursday 16 August 2018

We are delighted to welcome Rosy Greenlees, OBE, as the Art School’s new Honorary Fellow, who accepted the title at our recent Prize-Giving Ceremony on 26 June 2018.

The title of Honorary Fellow is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding national or international contributions to art, craft, heritage or materiality, education or pedagogy. Rosy joins Professor Roger Kneebone, the Art School’s first Honorary Fellow, who was awarded the title in 2017 for his pioneering work in fostering cross-disciplinary dialogues across craft, art, science and beyond.

Rosy Greenlees, OBE, has been Executive Director of the Crafts Council since 2006.  A national organisation promoting the value of craft and making to society, the Crafts Council has supported thousands of makers through its talent development programmes; brings high quality craft to an annual audience of over 6 million through its exhibitions, Collection and events; and leads a national campaign for re-instating craft education in schools.

During her acceptance speech, Rosy emphasised the value of craft to the wider UK economy, particularly during the uncertain economic times ahead and she described the deep sense of satisfaction she has had in her work championing craft. Rosy went on to commend the Art School’s great success in keeping craft skills alive and relevant, and acknowledged the high standard of work the Art School achieves.

Rosy spent her early career as a curator in regional galleries and on major public art projects before taking on senior management roles as Head of Visual Arts and Media and Deputy Chief Executive at Eastern Arts Board; Cultural Strategy Manager responsible for the Mayor of London’s first culture strategy; and founder Director of the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise, a HEI partnership, now known as the Culture Capital Exchange.

She has also served on various advisory bodies including the Bristol and Bath Design Research Project, the Skills Commission; and was a board member of CC Skills.  Currently she is a member of the Creative Industries Council and President of the World Crafts Council, a non-profit, non-governmental organization promoting fellowship and fostering economic development through income generating craft related activities. The WCC organize exchange programs, workshops, conferences, seminars, and exhibitions offering encouragement, help, and advice to craft practitioners.

The Art School welcomes Rosy to our extended community of Fellows and looks forward to collaborating with her in the years ahead.

The work of Historic Carving student, Miriam Johnson, was featured in the Evening Standard on Friday 6 July 2018, when the newspaper published an article about a new stone corbel depicting Doorkins Magnificat, the renowned stray cat, and social media sensation, adopted by vergers at Southwark Cathedral ten years ago.


Miriam designed and carved the corbel head as part of a collaborative competition, organised by City & Guilds of London Art School and Southwark Cathedral, to create corbel heads to replace eroded corbels on the North Quire aisle of the Cathedral. The work of four of our  Historic Carving students was chosen to be mounted alongside existing corbel heads and will be fixed on the wall in the next few weeks.

Edgar Ward’s corbel design was amongst the other three chosen to be installed at the Cathedral. His design depicts PC Wayne Marques, the British Transport Police Officer who was injured whilst protecting the public in the London Bridge terror attack on 3 June 2017.  Edgar met Wayne at a London Craft Week event at the Cathedral in May this year and during a major event commemorating the anniversary of the attacks, attended by Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan, the corbels were blessed by the Dean in anticipation of their installation.



Edgar Ward with PC Wayne Marques at Southwark Cathedral 

The two other winners of the corbel head design competition were Sue Aperghis and Lily Marsh.

The design and carving competition brief specified that the new corbel designs should be relevant to daily life and spirit of the Cathedral and should resonate with a contemporary audience. Tim Crawley, Art School’s Head of Historic Carving, commented, ‘These designs show that the restoration of our stone buildings  can provide an opportunity to make work that is both respectful of its historic context, as well as relevant to the present day.’

The Art School has collaborated with Southwark Cathedral for a number of years as part of an extensive restoration project at the Cathedral. Live projects like this act as invaluable career preparation for the Historic Carving students on our Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma courses.

Other collaborations between City & Guilds of London Art School and Southwark Cathedral include the carving and replacement of 43 stiff-leaf bosses on the upper parapets of the Quire, in August and September 2017. Carving took place in the south churchyard, adjacent to the famous Borough Market, watched by visitors who took a great interest in seeing this historic craft in action. The project was featured on BBC London News.

Live commissions recently undertaken by Historic Carving and Conservation students at the City & Guilds of London Art School also include the design and carving of a wooden, gilded frame in the Auricular style for a Van Dyke portrait in the Bowes museum near Durham, a woodcarving of Roald Dahl’s Roly-Poly Bird, commissioned by Dahl’s grandson, Ned Donovan and the conservation of a range of exquisite historic objects from the highly-regarded Portland Collection at Welbeck Abbey.

City & Guilds of London Art School is seeking to appoint a lecturer to join its Art Histories Department. We are seeking a motivated and experienced tutor committed to the delivery of high quality teaching within the area of modern and contemporary fine art history and visual culture at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Effective communication skills are essential, as is an understanding of art history from the artist’s perspective. The successful candidate will be flexible in their approach and able to deliver the Art School’s curriculum to students across BA (Hons) and MA levels 4-7.

The tutor will also be required to participate in assessment, carry out some administrative tasks and attend meetings and working groups within the Art School.

For further details about how to apply, please visit the links below:

Job description: JD_ArtHistories_Sessional-Tutor_2018.pdf

Person SpecificationPERSON SPECIFICATION Art Histories lecturer

Application form: CityAndGuildsArtSchool_JobApplicationForm_VersJune2018.docx

Application Deadline: Friday 27 July at midnight

Interview on: w/c 13 August 2018

A day of celebration of success and achievement took place on Tuesday 26 June as our final year Fine Art, Historic Carving and Conservation students graduated from the Art School in our annual Degree Show Ceremony and Prize Giving – the highlight of the year.

This celebratory event marks the start of the Degree Show which opened to the public on Tuesday and continues until 5pm on Sunday 1 July. Full dates and times here.



The proceedings started with a welcome address from Art School Principal, Tamiko O’Brien, and followed by a speech from Rosy Greenlees OBE, Executive Director of the Crafts Council, who accepted the title of Art School Honorary Fellow 2018.

Tamiko O’Brien and Rosy Greenlees

After addresses from graduands Nell Nicholas, BA (Hons) Fine Art, Olivia McILvenny, BA (Hons) Conservation and Borys Burrough, Dip Ornamental Woodcarving & Gilding, each student was congratulated by their Department Head to much applause.

Nell Nicholas delivering her address

Awards and prizes came next. Dick Onians, Senior Woodcarving Tutor who recently retired after 40 years at the Art School, was awarded Art School Fellow in recognition of his incredible work for the School.

Then followed the presentation of student prizes by Vice Principal, Magnus von Wistinghausen. The coveted Acme City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Award was given to BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Cora Sehgal-Cuthbert. Cora receives a year-long residency at Acme studios and support and mentoring from industry professionals.  Chris McCormack , Art Monthly Associate Editor, presented the prestigious Art Monthly Prize for Critical Writing to BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Megan Elliott.


Cora Sehgal-Cuthbert, winner of The Acme City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Award, with Andrew Grassie, Artist & Fine Art Tutor and Sayuri Morio accepting The City & Guilds of London Art School Research Project Prize from Magnus von Wistinghausen

A full list of the prize winners can be seen below. Congratulations to all, and very many thanks to the donors who support our students in this way.

The ceremony closed with remarks by Robin Holland-Martin, Chair of Trustees.

The students will all be tremendously missed, but we look forward to hearing about their great achievements in the very near future. Their outstanding work will be on display until 5pm on Sunday 1 July, and a visit is highly recommended.





The Idun Ravndal Travel Award: Emilie Fitzgerald

The Skinners’ Company Philip Connard Travel Prize: Roberta de Caro

The Skinners’ Company Philip Connard Travel Prize: Lucy Kenner

The David Ballardie Memorial Travel Award: Lucy Kenner

The Brinsley Ford Travel Award: Zeinab Harding



The Printmaking Prize for Technical Excellence: Thomas Pennick

The Skinners’ Company Stephen Gooden Prize for Engraving: Polly Bennett



The Surveyors’ Club Drawing Prize:  James Patrick

The Taylor Pearce Drawing Prize: Silje Loa Jorgensen

The Taylor Pearce Drawing Prize: Susan Aperghis

The City & Guilds of London Art School – Andrew Vass Prize for Experimental Drawing: Elizabeth Kelsey



The Art Monthly Prize for Critical Writing: Megan Elliott

The Art Monthly Prize – Runner-up: Nell Nicholas

The Art Monthly Prize – Runner-up: Cora Sehgal-Cuthbert

The Brian Till Art Histories Thesis Prize: Richard Barnes



The City & Guilds of London Art School Gilding and Decorative Surfaces Prize for a Conservation student: Nicoleta Donu

The City & Guilds of London Art School Research Project Prize: Tina Kenward

The City & Guilds of London Art School Research Project Prize: Sayuri Morio

The City & Guilds of London Art School Prize Practical Conservation Project Prize: Sayuri Morio

The Venice in Peril Residency: Olivia McILvenny

The Venice in Peril Residency: Catherine Gray



The Artists Collecting Society Undergraduate Prize: Rose Schmits

The Acme City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Award: Cora Sehgal-Cuthbert

The Fishmongers’ Company Beckwith Travel and Scholarship Prize: Roberta de Caro

The City & Guilds of London Art School Sculpture Prize: Maria Positano

The Merlin Entertainments Group – Madame Tussauds’ Project Fund Award for a Continuing student: Yingming Chen

The Merlin Entertainments Group – Madame Tussauds Merit Award for a Graduating Student: Elizabeth Kelsey

The Chadwyck-Healey Prize for Painting: Matteo Santacroce

The Painter-Stainers Scholarship Prize: Edward Howard

The Painter-Stainers Decorative Surfaces Fellowship: Polly Bennett



The Neil Shannon Memorial Award for Stonecarving: Susan Aperghis

The Neil Shannon Memorial Award for Wood Carving: Beatrice Rambaud

The Masons’ Company for Outstanding  Work by a Graduating Student: Thomas Clark Collins

The Masons’ Company Prize for Studentship and Commitment  for a Continuing Student: Miriam Johnson

The Master Carvers Carving Prize for Final Year Student: William Barsley

The City & Guilds of London Art School Lettering Prize: George Edwards

The William Wheeler Woodcarving Prize for Outstanding Work: Borys Burrough

The City & Guilds of London Art School Gilding and Decorative Surfaces Prize for a Carving student: Xabier Mendizabal Vitoriano



The Inter Esse (Main Prize): Nell Nicholas

The Inter Esse: Ayseli Sunguroglu

The Inter Esse: Eirik Broll Stalheim

The Fishmongers’ Company Design Prize: Nell Nicholas

The Honourable Society of Knights of the Round Table Award: Anna Ng

The Honourable Society of Knights of the Round Table Award: Thomas Clark Collins

The Honourable Society of Knights of the Round Table Award: Silje Jorgensen

The City & Guilds of London Art School The Board of Trustees Prize: Wilfe Gorlin

The City & Guilds of London Art School Student Initiated Prizes: Assemblage (Megan Elliott Kim Booker)

The City & Guilds of London Art School Student Initiated Prizes: Clean AIR space (Roberta de Caro, Camila Bridgewater, Emilie Fitzgerald)

Our first year conservators were welcomed at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire during their final week of term. It was an exciting prospect for all and, for some students, their first visit to the North West of England. The group were greeted on arrival by Alice, Devonshire Collections Manager and Emma, Tour Guide and Housekeeper and were shown through the interior of the house with knowledgeable commentary from Emma. The house is in the final stages of an essential restoration project known as ‘The Masterplan’ which was designed to improve access and enjoyment for its visitors. With plenty of work still ahead, the students were introduced to stonework and woodcarvings in need of conservation and these projects featured in discussions over lunch. Lunch was provided in the elegant dining rooms of the Flying Childers Restaurant where the group were joined by Alex, garden manager, and Luke, head of housekeepers’ team. Following lunch, the group were treated to a garden tour from Alex who spoke about her plans for an upcoming garden sculpture exhibition. After an insightful day the students came away with great respect for the team of people who care for Chatsworth House and Gardens and who will, ultimately, secure it for future generations to come. 

From: September 2018
Closing date: 12 midnight on 15th June 2018
Interview: July 2018 (date TBC)

The City & Guilds of London Art School is seeking applications for a 1 to 2 year Printmaking Fellowship. The successful applicant will have a recent postgraduate qualification in Fine Art/ Printmaking, and demonstrate a particular commitment to intaglio processes with some experience of screen-printing. The post offers a unique opportunity for an artist to develop their own practice in the context of the Art School’s traditional etching and engraving studio, working alongside artist and master printmaker Jason Hicklin who set up the studio under Professor Norman Ackroyd in 1998. The print studio is a thriving and lively working environment with 3 tutors and 3 Fellows working as a team to support students from across the Art School’s courses.

The Fellowship recipient’s responsibilities will include:
•  Being available in the print studio on average 2 days per week during term time
•  Participating in the support and supervision of students under the direction of the Print Studio Manager
•  Working within the Health and Safety protocols and guidelines of the Art School in general and the Print Studio in particular.

The successful applicant will benefit from:
•  Access to the print studio throughout the week with 3 days available to pursue their own practice
•  Gaining experience in advanced technical aspects of intaglio printmaking
•  Gaining experience of teaching within a small scale supportive Art School environment
•  Gaining knowledge and experience of safe working practices
•  Exhibiting as part of the MA and Artists in Residence exhibition at the Art School

For further details about how to apply, please visit the links below:

Application guidelines: CG Printmaking 2018 Requirement and Procedure.pdf

Application Form: CG Printmaking 2018 Application Form.docx

Our 3rd year students are working hard to finish their Conservation projects before the degree show in June 2018. Colour matching, gilding, reconstructing missing parts, removing old paint, gluing, laser cleaning, filling, reinforcing, cutting brass or using the Shimbari box… our Conservation studios are buzzing with skills and creativity.

Laser cleaning on ivory movie


Before applying to study my Foundation, I intended to study History of Art, not really knowing what a Fine Art degree entailed and intimidated by the jump in quality I had observed looking at graduating fine artists and comparing this to the work I had done at A-level. By the time I started studying at City & Guilds I knew I wanted to pursue Fine Art and abandoned my HoA place. However, through attending the Foundation course I was able to really further and question my practise in comparison to the prescriptive and descriptive nature of my A-level studies. The school exposed me not only to a different way of thinking about art, but practically enabled me to explore different medias that had not been available to me at school such as: casting, etching and print making, photography and design. Without this experience, and the development of self-initiated practise, I truly believe my experience at degree would be crucially hindered, even to the most basic level of a preliminary knowledge of what it is like to study an arts degree.

What in particular has stayed with you from your time at the Art School?

I think one of things that has particularly stayed with me after leaving the Art School was the confidence and support the tutors gave me, not only in furthering my practise but also when putting my portfolio together, helping with my personal statement and with interview practise all for early application. The investment in individual students at such an early point in my studies was indicative to me of an Art School that really strove to support us in our academic pursuits, however they may have manifested.

What have you gone on to after leaving the Art School?

Since leaving I have continued to study Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing. Now half way through my degree, my practise has developed from a discrete sculpture and video works to a more expanded practise encompassing print, film, writing and site specific performances. Deeply embedded on the specific British history of the dissemination of aural mythologies and ritualistic earth based healing and magic practises, I am currently trying to build an archive of ‘testimonies’ that contrasts this research with the more contemporary Wicca practises, and, to an extent the industrialisation, digitisation and consumerism which is now inextricably inherent in our landscapes. However, underpinning all my work is a fascination with the essential violence and abject interstitiality of our bodies.

I have also presented work in exhibition Al Denté at The Dolphin Gallery in Oxford, and more recently in ‘NEHCTIK’ at Strange Cargo in Folkestone, and am currently preparing a performance for a semi-collaborative outdoor exhibition in Oxford. I have also shown my work on Industry Magazines digital edition ‘Food’, and have two sculptural performances, writing and some drawings in The Edgar Wind Society’s journal Oculus’ edition  ‘nowhere/now here’.

What advice might you give to current Foundation students?

My advice for current Foundation students would be to make the most of the experience, the Foundation year is a unique space with complete freedom for experimentation with an availability to technical assistance and space that you may not receive at some universities at degree level. Make bad work where you have the time and freedom to and be completely open to change in your practise. Also where the opportunity is provided immerse yourself as much as possible in learning how to question and talk about your art.

What really stayed with you from your time at the Art School?

The emphasis on craft skills was challenging but highly rewarding. I found the skills I picked up in life-drawing vital in teaching me how to really look and critically assess an object, which I have consistently needed in conservation.

What did you work on during your time at the Art School that has proved valuable in your professional career?

The conservation course at City & Guilds allows you to treat a wide range of objects, composed of many different materials. Though I have, since graduating, specialised in gilding and frame conservation, I still use many of the skills I acquired in other areas, including the treatment and analysis of stone and painted wooden objects.

What are you up to now?

Since graduating I have worked in private practice, in a conservation studio specialising in treating gilt and lacquer objects. Having then completed a frame conservation internship at the Guildhall Art Gallery, I worked for National Maritime Museum as a frame conservator and at the Houses of Parliament to make new frames for works on paper. Last year I worked at a new National Trust conservation studio at Knole. I am presently a frame conservator at Tate and the Guildhall Art Gallery. I also supervise conservation students on a frame conservation work placement at the Palace of Westminster.



  1. Mark Searle water gilding replacement ornament on the frame for the painting ‘Seascape’ by Peter Graham. This treatment was completed for the internal exhibition ‘Victorian Decoded’ in 2016-17.

Framing a recently discovered Van Dyck portrait for the Bowes Museum

One of the great features of the carving course is the regularity of commissions which come our way. Sometimes these are suitable for group projects (for example the Southwark Cathedral and St.George’s Chapel Windsor commissions).  Sometimes they are taken on by individuals, particularly as part of their final year work.

The latter was the case for a recent commission , to carve a frame for a Van Dyck portrait in the possession of the Bowes Museum near Durham.

The painting depicts Olivia Bottler Porter, lady-in-waiting to Charles I’s wife Henrietta Maria. Although in the possession of the museum since its foundation in the 19th century, it was not exhibited as it was not thought to be significant and in a bad condition, being covered in layers of dirt and varnish. However, in 2013 it was spotted by a sharp eyed connoisseur, and after an investigation by BBC Two’s Culture Show, was verified as an authentic Van Dyck by expert Dr Christopher Brown. Originally valued at around £3 – 5,000, for insurance purposes it is now valued at around the one million mark!

When the possibility arose for a collaboration between the Bowes Museum’s new Art and Design Center and the Historic Carving Department, we jumped at the opportunity to work together on thisimportant and prestigious commission.

Third year woodcarver Borys Burrough is tackling the project, and it’s an exceptional fit with his skills and ambitions.

Borys joined the Diploma woodcarving course following work as an art handler for Christies and as a gilder for west end picture frame Rollo Whately, and it is Borys’s ambition to work in the framing business. What better way to kick off such a career than designing the frame for one of the most famous painters of the 17th century?

Anthony Van Dyck is in the news right now. As the resident artist at the court of Charles I, he produced the most iconic portraits of the ill-fated monarch, and they are currently the centerpieces of the latest blockbuster show at the Royal Academy, bringing together the famed art collection of the king for the first time since his execution in1649.

The idea of the commission is that the frame should be historically appropriate, so it’s also fortuitous that the Auricular Style of frames common at this period is the specialism of the Art School’s conservation tutor Gerry Alabone, head of picture frame conservation at the at theTate Gallery from 2004-2016, now the Head of Furniture and Frame Conservation at the National Trust, and organizer of a recent conference on the subject at the Wallace Collection. Alongside the carving tutors, Gerry has also been able to advise on the project as it developed.

Borys’s design, whilst true to the Auricular style, also makes subtle reference to the life of the sitter portrayed, as well as to the north eastern location of the museum. The carving is now complete, and after gilding and exhibition in the Diploma Show, will be placed around the painting and displayed at the main entrance to the museum for public viewing in September.

Borys says,

“This dream commission has really tested all of the skills I have developed whilst studying here at the Art school and the challenge of designing a historically faithful auricular frame whilst at the same time giving it a contemporary perspective has been one that I have really enjoyed. There are even a few hidden references to the story of Olivia Porter in the frame which I hope the viewer will have fun spotting! I feel honoured to have been given this opportunity and can’t wait to see my frame up in the Bowes museum becoming part of the life of this remarkable painting.”


Foundation Show 2018 dates and times:

Private View –  16 May, 6.30-8.30pm

Open Week – 17-20 May, 10am-5pm

We hope to see you there!



Interim Show 2018

City & Guilds of London Art School 1st and 2nd Year Fine Art Interim Show
Downstairs at Mother, 10 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DD

Private View
Friday 22 June, 6.30pm-10.00pm
RSVP on the Eventbrite page

Saturday 23 June 11.00am-4.00pm


We hope to see you there!


The 15 selected artists for the Collyer Bristow Graduate Art Award 2018, ‘Exceptional’,  have been published, and we are extremely proud to announce that 12 of the 15 artists are Art School alumni!

Art School alumni Jonathan Armour, Julia Court, Oli Epp, Lorraine Fossi, Gwyneth Fugard,  Katie Lennard, Karen Loader, Robyn Litchfield, Lucy McGeown, Abigail Phanggungfook, Tom Platt and Amelia Kate Sampson have all been chosen.

The artists were selected from three leading art schools; Goldsmiths, Middlesex and City & Guilds of London Art School, graduating from their BA, MA & Post Graduate Diploma programmes between 2015 and 2017.


Pride by Oli Epp. Oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 120cm x 120cm

The Private View is 20 June where the winner of the £2000 award and the staff prize will be announced. The exhibition continues until 3 October 2018.

The ‘Exceptional’ award and exhibition opportunity is aimed at supporting recent graduate artists in the challenging period post-graduation. Rosalind Davis, the Collyer Bristow Gallery’s independent curator and graduate of the RCA, comments: “It can be difficult for new graduates to find a platform for their work, but this Award creates an environment where support is made available to emerging artists in the precarious initial years after graduation. It brings their work to new audiences, raising their profiles and helping them to create new professional networks.”.

More City & Guilds of London Art School alumni successes were seen in last year’s award with Emmanuelle Loiselle receiving the 2017 award. Emmanuelle says, “I was so honoured! Many thanks to Collyer Bristow for supporting emerging artists, it is very rare to receive such a generous opportunity and this is such a fantastic platform to show my work!”

Congratulations to all the selected artists and we look forward to finding out who has won the award in June.

Registration Open!! The Art School is looking forward to hosting a three day event from Friday 15 – Sunday 17 June 2018, to promote costume making and the associated specialist skills vital to theatre, opera, film and television. Bringing together costume technicians and designers to exchange ideas, learn from others and celebrate their art, the symposium is organised by award winning costume designers Susannah Buxton and Catriona Tyson and involves leading figures, including designers from Game of Thrones, The Crown and Downton Abbey.

Costume Symposium

Registration now open!!

Earlybird fee for registration by 18 May £150 for 3 days

Regular fee for registration by 8 June    £180 for 3 days

Keynote Speakers;

Michele Clapton:  Costume Designer, Game of Thrones and The Crown

Professor Roger Kneebone:  Surgeon, championing collaboration between skills.

Workshops with:

Sean Barrett:  Milliner

Riina Oun: Handmade Gloves

Kunza: Corsetiere

Miriam Schultz: Embellishment& Patination

Anne Oldham: Makeup Design

Vicky Salway: Women’s Period Tailoring

For further information and booking email:


The Costume Symposium would like to thank Cosprop Ltd, The Costume House and City & Guilds of London Art School for their generous support.

Catherine is re-discovering traditional etching methods alongside her experimental approach to printmaking. Examining themes and ideas made in call and response to the landscape and figure are channelled into etchings having initiated as expressive drawings paintings and photographs.

The human connection to the landscape is explored with reference to ancient sites and natural phenomena. The oscillation that occurs between them creates as dialogue of imagery that touches on the seen and unseen, the spaces in between and the unsaid, posing questions about our existence.

“I aim to direct people’s attention towards a still place in themselves through which they can be reflective about the world and their place in it.”

Love and playing of traditional music pervades the work.

Catherine runs her own print studio in Sussex, has worked as a teacher and an Environmental Educator and raised a family of three children. She studied at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts, BA. Hons. Kent Institute of Art and Design, M.A. University of Maine USA. She has exhibited widely, most recently R.A. Summer Exhibition, London, Zillah Bell, Thirsk Original print Show, ‘Translations’ Body Talk conference, Greenwich University, ‘Tomorrow’s Child’ Houses of Parliament, London.

Last summer saw the start of an exciting new collaboration between Southwark Cathedral and students from all years of the Architectural Stone Carving diploma at the City and Guilds of London Art School.The south churchyard, adjacent to the famous Borough Market, became the site of a temporary masons’ lodge in the medieval tradition, providing shelter from the summer sun (and rain) for a team of student carvers and their tutors.
As part of the current restoration programme on the Quire, most of the gothic style bosses on the upper parapets needed to be replaced. Originally carved in the 1830s as part of an earlier restoration programme under the architect Gwilt , these were severely deteriorated and were starting to fall away from the parapet. This presented a great opportunity for students to experience working on a major church building, learning to carve in this distinctive and quintessentially English 13th century style of medieval foliage, known as Stiff-Leaf, and get paid!

The carvings were produced in teams of 4-6 students so that everyone could participate

Over an 8 week period in August and September, 44 new bosses were carved. The students returned to their studios for the start of the new academic year last October, and over the autumn period the old bosses were cut out of the building and replaced with the new . On 22nd and 23rd of January , the students returned to the scaffold to trim in the mouldings so that the bosses could be made to sit comfortably in the string course. In the Spring the scaffolding will finally be removed, and so we look forward with keen anticipation to reviewing the effect of the work from the ground. This is, after all, architectural carving, really only making sense when seen as part of the building as a whole. Watch this space – we will post some photos of the finished work when they are finally unveiled. Stand by also for news of the commission of 3 new corbel heads for which stonecarving students have produced competing designs for selection by the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral

Working in the carvings after fixing. Masks are necessary as the carvings are made in sandstone, which is highly silicious

Tutor Paul Jakeman , who carved the models for the students to copy and develop

A completed Stiff-leaf boss. Its a favourite style amongst stone carvers

Hard at work in the Masons’Lodge

The BA Conservation course at City & Guilds is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever undertaken. The sheer scale of the course and the range of subjects students are expected to excel in cannot be understated. I can vividly remember that mingled sense of excitement and trepidation on receiving my first term’s timetable. Every day was full to bursting and the range of topics covered seemed so broad – wood carving, history of art, chemistry, and conservation ethics to name just a few. I couldn’t wait to get started.

I had no formal experience studying any of these topics; my first degree was in History and Philosophy. However, I had some creative and trades-based professional experience and had been volunteering with the National Trust prior to joining the course. Having graduated from the BA Conservation course, I feel comfortable discussing, describing, and applying knowledge learnt from across this broad syllabus.

So, if I was to choose one thing that has really stayed with me it would be the sense of privilege at being exposed to and encouraged to learn so many wonderful and disparate subjects. I can remember studying historical craft manuals in the morning and modern analytical techniques such as FTIR in the afternoon, perhaps a day’s life drawing followed by a day or two practicing how to produce and analyse cross sections sampling objects. This sense of the sheer scale of the course at City & Guilds has stayed with me into my professional life as I find myself able to hold my own in conversations with curators, scientists, crafts people, and a full range of other stakeholders.

I also particularly remember learning craft skills: gilding, wood carving, stone carving, lettering, japanning. I realised early on that while each craft discipline had its own very specific components, there was also a cumulative, transferable aspect to these skills. My understanding of the structure of wood or the composition of sedimentary stones was informed by my having cut and carved those materials; I watched my increasing brush skills, from having applied gessoes and pigmented shellacs and egg tempera paints, all funnel into a dramatically increased dexterity when working to consolidate Japanese lacquer or gilded surfaces; I saw my practical knowledge of the creation of multi-layered decorative surfaces from creating panel paintings, gilded, and japanned surfaces provide me with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of how these systems degrade and how they might respond to different treatments.

I can also say that many of the relationships I formed with tutors and peers have stayed with me. All of the tutors at City & Guilds are practicing experts in their respective fields. This means that they are able to deliver high-level, practical skills and experience to students while at college, but also means they continue as mentors, employers, or simply as a familiar and encouraging presence in the sometimes alarmingly small world of conservation upon graduation. Similarly, our year group has maintained contact despite our disparate trajectories since graduation, continuing to support and encourage each other throughout our various trials and successes.

The emphasis on practical applications for all the skills we were developing also proved invaluable. From early in my first year, lessons on basic object assessment and dry cleaning learnt in the classroom were applied at Westminster Abbey, Rochester Cathedral, and St. Bartholomew the Great church.  From early in the second year we were working on objects owned by private clients and major heritage organisations and institutions. I found this exposure to real-world working conditions particularly helpful as it helped me to develop an appreciation of the importance of pragmatism and compromise, of deadlines, and of clients from the outset of my practice.

All of these factors have combined to mean that since graduation I have been continuously employed in one form or another. I have worked as a gilder, a stone conservator, a preventive conservator, a private furniture restorer, a conservator of gilded frames and furniture in private practice and a conservator of furniture and oriental lacquer at the Victoria and Albert Museum. All of this work has come in some way that’s to my association with City & Guilds, either directly through former tutors or peers, or as a result of the tireless work of Marina Sokhan in recommending and advocating for her graduates. It is only thanks to the diversity of the syllabus and the high, high quality of the teaching at City & Guilds that I have so comfortably been able to take on what at first glance may seem such diverse roles.

And it is thanks to this diversity of post-graduate experience, alongside my hard work organising conferences and events with the Institute of Conservation (Icon) via my involvement in their special interest groups, that I think played a vital role in securing me a permanent position at the British Museum as an organics conservator with special focus on wooden objects late in 2017. I feel like now, 3 years since graduating, the process of learning what it really is to be a conservator can really begin. Working as a permanent member of staff at a large national museum allows me to work on a wonderful array of objects, all of often very high quality or significance. But it also allows me to access training and conference attendance, to utilise the latest practical methods and analytical techniques, it will facilitate my path towards professional accreditation, allow me to learn from incredibly experienced and talent colleagues, and in time to begin to pass on some of what I’ve learnt.

I couldn’t have dreamed when I started at City & Guilds that within 3 years of graduation I would have landed my dream job, let alone that I would feel I had earnt it. I continue to believe that I am very privileged to do the work that I do, and without City & Guilds none of it would have been possible.


  1. © V&A, 2017. Cleaning lacquer.
  2. © V&A, 2016. Looking for areas of lifting brass and shell on a Boulle table.
  3. Retouching areas of loss in the entrance to the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, Westminster Abbey.
  4. Conducting experimental practical work on the electrolytic reduction of lead corrosion on lacquer.
  5. Oil gilding in the Sovereign’s Robing Room at the Palace of Westminster.
  6. © The Trustees of the British Museum. Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) licence. Carrying out veneer replacements on a long case clock.
  7. Consolidating a C19th export lacquer tea caddy for my 3rd year practical project at City & Guilds.

Alex Owen graduated from our BA (Hons) Conservation Studies course in 2014. Here he tells us about his inspirational journey from Conservation Studies undergrad to Wooden Objects Conservator at the British Museum…

On my first day at City & Guilds I can remember feeling a little lost and incredibly curious. On campus you are always very aware that most of what City & Guilds does is teach the creative arts. I just remember wanting to spend time in historic stone and wood carving, in the wood shop, and the sculpture and fine art studios. Conservation felt like a complication – a behemoth of unknowns keeping me from exploring the labyrinthine site and getting to know all its inhabitants and learning about what they did.

From the outset I wanted to focus on Wood and Furniture conservation and was particularly interested in developing craft skills. However I soon developed a fascination with science spurred on by the practical way it is taught and applied at City & Guilds. I also paid full attention to anything the tutors would impart, from Pigments to History of Art, the Lime Cycle to the use of gels for cleaning. This gregarious approach to the diverse curriculum at City & Guilds has held me in good stead as it has allowed me to, for example, work as a stone conservator for Taylor Pearce between contracts at the Victoria and Albert museum’s Furniture Conservation Department.

19th Century export lacquer tea caddy

In fact since graduating I’ve had to be very versatile. Among other roles I’ve worked as a stone conservator in private practice and as a furniture conservator in a museum environment as mentioned above, I’ve worked as a preventive conservator seconded to Westminster Abbey, and as a frames and gilded furniture conservator at a small private studio. I’ve taken on private conservation, gilding, and restoration work. I also busied myself with being on the committee, and ultimately chairing, the Icon Furniture and Wooden Object Group.

Oil gilding in the Sovereign's Robing Room at the Palace of Westminster.

I am certain that this plurality of post-graduate experience played a large part in my being offered a permanent position as Wooden Objects Conservator at the British Museum, a dream job for me. However, I think the biggest single reason for my success was a placement at the V&A during my studies, facilitated by one of my tutors. The opportunity to work in a museum environment allowed me to prove myself in that immediate context. Then when temporary contracts came up at the V&A, I was a known and proven entity. Having then secured that experience, when applying for the position at the British Museum I was able to demonstrate an ability to deliver results at a large national museum.

Carrying out veneer replacements on a long case clock

Now I am beginning my career at the British Museum. I have been made section lead for Japanese and Korean objects with a focus on lacquer, and for large archaeological wooden objects. I also have responsibility for the Organics section’s machine tools and woodworking room. But what I really love about working here is the diversity of challenging objects we get to work on – my first object was a Haitian Voodoo drum!



Frame and Furniture Conservation projects with Tutor Gerry Alabone

Historic Crafts: Gilding & Japanning



BA (Hons) Conservation

MA Conservation



  1. Consolidating a C19th export lacquer tea caddy for my 3rd year practical project at City & Guilds
  2. Oil gilding in the Sovereign’s Robing Room at the Palace of Westminster.
  3. © The Trustees of the British Museum. Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) licence. Carrying out veneer replacements on a long case clock.

While we are planning a full celebration of Dick Onian’s huge contribution to the Art School in early March 2018, we could not mark his last full day of teaching on 13th December 2017 without a very big and warm thank you.
Dick has been teaching Historic Carving Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma students at the City & Guilds of London Art School since 1977 and is widely recognised by students and staff as one of the most generous, thoughtful, knowledgeable and inspiring people any of us have had the pleasure of working with.
We very much look forward to seeing Dick again in February but for now here is a big cheers and thanks to Dick – we are relieved that he will be doing a few days a year still, but we will miss his regular presence a great deal. If we had the ability to bestow such an accolade, he would be up there as a Living National Treasure..

Senior Stone Carving Tutor Nina Bilbey says:
Dick Onians is one of those rare individuals you meet once in a life time. His extraordinary depth of knowledge is matched only by his practical skill. It has been an extraordinary honour to work with one of this countries true master carvers, I will miss his quiet manner and his sharp eye for detail. I can only hope that we, the staff and Art School, honour his legacy by continuing to pass on the unique skills he has bestowed upon us with such humility.


My art practice is about creating machines and objects that are self-defeating and that play with the viewer’s expectations; in the past I have made things from mostly found objects, merging them together to create strange/dysfunctional/odd assemblages. Recently my work has become more technical and precise, exploring laser cutting in various materials such as wood and acrylic.

Matthew’s approach to art making is through the construction of critical and research-oriented projects. These projects have thus far been couched in his time-based media studies background and take the form of prints and videos with a foregrounded materiality. These forms—silkscreens printed with gelatine and silver in a recent framework—are assembled through an engagement with theories and modes of working surrounding materialist ontologies, creative cultural geographies, and caring in a more-than-human world. Central to this cultural production approach is an aim towards shifting viewer perceptions towards photographic media: his working process intends to place material affect on the same plane of recognition as depicted mimetic representations.

Matthew beach received his MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art and BFA from the University of Florida. He also participated in the 2016 Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art. Recent exhibitions include The Political Animal Event, The Showroom, London and Individuating, Rosa–Luxemburg–Platz Kunstverein, Berlin. Beach is currently a Geography MA candidate at Queen Mary, University of London and artist-in-residence at Charleston House as part of the 2018 Diep~Haven festival.


On 6 December, not one but two of our recent Fine Art graduates were awarded top prizes in two prestigious competitions.

Lucas Dupuy (BA Hons 2017) took home the Clyde & Co Art Award Prize, selected from over 40 recent alumni from five leading art schools as the judges’ selection. The exhibition at Clyde & Co’s east London headquarters also featured work by seven other 2017 City & Guilds of London Art School graduates.

Harrison Pearce (MA 2016) also met with success that night, winning the Young Contemporary Talent Purchase Prize Exhibition for his piece ‘Interview (prototype)’, which was shown earlier this autumn at Dulwich College.

Congratulations to both on these wonderful accolades!

City & Guilds of London Art School Fine Art tutor Frances Richardson has won the 2017 Solo Prize! Judges Robin Klassnik, Lisa Le Feuvre, Sarah Monk and Chiara Williams deemed Frances the winner out of 31 artists featured in the exhibition. She will be featured with a one-person exhibition at the 2018 London Art Fair. This comes on the heels of her winning the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award earlier this spring which comes with an exhibition at Standpoint Gallery..


Work by Hannah Hill

What have our recent alumni been up to over the last few months since the degree show??

Since the Art School was tapped by the Guardian as one of the must-see BA Shows to spot rising stars (and certainly it was a very popular show with lots of great feedback) our 2017 graduates have been busy.

What we have heard about so far..

Oli Epp, was picked out by GQ Magazine as one of the young UK artists to invest in early! and indeed he sold out his Degree Show with a waiting list. One of Oli’s self-portraits was acquired for the Ruth Borchard Next Generation Collection, joining the likes of Tracey Emin and others.. and he is now on a residency in Spain with solo shows coming up in  the New Year..

Luc Nonga had a solo show ‘In Transit’ at ‘The Store’ at  Dulwich College and has been working from a sponsored studio in recent months with his work also selected for the Clyde & Co exhibition among others..

Hannah Hill appeared on an hour long BBC Woman’s Hour special discussing her grime culture inspired embroideries. She has a huge following on instagram and is going from strength to strength..

Jeanette Gunnarsson has been busy showing her work in a collaborative installation at the White Conduit Projects and at the Peckham International Art Fair. She is also working as an assistant curator with Kristian Day

Lucas Dupuy is enjoying his 1 year residency at Acme studios (the City & Guilds of London Art School Acme Studio Award) that comes with a £7000 materials grant and has also just won the Clyde & Co Art Award  main prize of another £5000 – big congratulations Lucas!

Graduates from Fine Art in summer 2016 are also doing very well with Amanda Mostrom (former recipient of the Acme Studio Award) and Tom Platt now showing in the 2017 Bloomberg New Contemporaries that will be moving to Block 336 in January. This is the first time that this major exhibition has been shown at an independent artist run gallery space and at the City & Guilds of London Art School we are delighted to see that this great gallery initiative led by our own alumni including Fine Art tutor Jane Hayes Greenwood is being recognised in this way!

more news to come….

Come and visit and see what a real Art School is like! Our Open days provide the opportunity to meet tutors and talk to our students, see our studios and workshops and hear in more detail about what it’s like to study here.

If you are interested in visiting one of our Open Days please visit our booking page:
  • Foundation Diploma in Art & Design
  • BA (Hons) Fine Art
  • MA Fine Art
  • BA (Hons) Conservation Studies
  • MA Conservation
  • BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Woodcarving and Gilding
  • BA (Hons) Historic Carving: Architectural Stone
  • MA Carving


Our two most recent Work Workshop Fellows started at the beginning of this term. Already they have made a significant contribution to the Art School, both in the time they dedicate towards helping students in the workshop, and by sharing their skills with the community more generally.


James Boman creates machines and objects that are self-defeating, machines that play with the viewer’s expectations. James currently makes things from mostly found objects, merging them together to create unique/dysfunctional assemblages. James would like hone his fabricating skills, expand his knowledge of better quality materials and potentially apply more traditional techniques to his practice.



A 2016 MA Fine Art Graduate of the Art School, Ana makes pained wooden sculptures. Her work is informed by the processes of hybridisation and mistranslations that happen when elements from a culture travel and adapt to a new one. She collects images, memories and objects and uses them as influences in her practice, making unexpected associations in a way that creates a fiction in its own right. Through humour she plays with the tension between feelings of strangeness and familiarity.


Wood Workshop Fellows are practicing artists who work 1-2 days in the Art School’s workshop in exchange for access to the facilities and technical support. Fellows are selected through an application and interview process prior to the start of each academic year. For more information, contact Wood Workshop Technician David MacDiarmid at

Our Conservation course is one of the only courses that trains students to work as conservators of objects made of stone and stone related materials (as well of course as wood and decorative surfaces). We strongly believe that in order to make conservation decisions you really need to know about what it takes to make things as well.. Here are our 1st year students involved in one of the Historic Crafts that they learn during the year – Stone Carving. They are working in the beautiful carving workshop of renowned local stone sculptor and specialist letter cutter Tom Young and as you can see in just a week they have spectacular results and a much deeper understanding of how stone behaves.

During the 1st year of the course Conservation students are involved in a really wide range of activities from Chemistry and Conservation ethics through to specialist craft workshops.. here are some of the 1st year students learning about how to carve. Why? because if you are going to conserve wood carvings you need to understand how the material behaves and how the original maker’s approach…


Conservation Studies Head of Department, Dr Marina Sokhan, visited the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts Faculty of Restoration/Conservation, Art History and Theory in Georgia this month and had a fascinating week. Marina gave a number of lectures while she was there and was also able to visit live projects at various locations. It was a highly productive visit and the Conservation Department looks forward to keeping a dialogue with colleagues in Tbilisi in the future.


The Art School’s online learning platform is Moodle, available at

Students use Moodle to access a wealth of course information and resources, including timetables, project briefs, and assessment forms.

Weekly Art Histories lectures are recorded and uploaded to Moodle, allowing students to revisit the material alongside uploaded lecture presentations from home. Recommended readings are scanned and uploaded for direct access to core texts; and supplementary sources such as videos are posted to enrich the key course materials.

Research and study skills advice including essay writing tips, referencing & citation guides are provided on the site, as well as student support information; making it the central location for students to find information and guidance throughout their studies.



Harriet Lam studied for her MA Library and Information Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, having previously gained BA (Honours) and MA degrees in English Literature at the University of Leeds. She has a background working in academic and art libraries including Christie’s Education, Courtauld Institute of Art, and Birkbeck, University of London. She is a member of ARLIS/UK & Ireland: the Art Libraries Society, sitting on the Professional Development Committee (2013-17) and Conference Working Party for the London 2018 conference.

At Winchester Cathedral, students have undertaken the cleaning of 13th century architectural stones and the conservation of a 17th century decorative wood carving frame.

Royal Literary Fund Fellow

The Royal Literary Fund has established a national network of Fellows, to provide Universities with assistance in all aspects of ‘expository writing’.  Under this umbrella term, individual Fellows work 1-to-1 with students and staff on essay writing, reports, study techniques and oral presentations.  The Fellowship scheme at City & Guilds of London Art School is now well established, and this year represents Mario Petrucci’s second year at the Art School.

Mario Petrucci is a poet, educator and broadcaster. He was born in Lambeth, London and trained as a physicist at Selwyn College in the University of Cambridge and later completed a PhD in vacuum crystal growth at University College London. He is also an ecologist, having a BA in Environmental Science from Middlesex University. Petrucci was the first poet to be resident at the Imperial War Museum and with BBC Radio 3.  His first major collection, Shrapnel and Sheets (1996), won a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. He has been much involved in radio broadcasting and in the educational sector, in creative writing and literary mentoring. He has generated many educational resources that incorporate creative writing, science and ecology and he is now active in generating poetry videos that address environmental, social and personal themes.  2012 saw Petrucci shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award with a vast poetry soundscape (among the largest ever created) entitled Tales from the Bridge. This installation spanned the Thames (on the Millennium Bridge, London) as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Collaborators for the project included Martyn Ware (The Human League) and Eric Whitacre, whose music was used.


Nick Moss hails from Adelaide South Australia, there he completed a BA in Creative Arts from Flinders University majoring in film production and animation.  Prior to completing his bachelors he obtained a diploma in Network Administration.  He has spent the better part of 13 years working as an IT Support technician, freelance film maker & video / performance artist.

He has been the primary IT support technician since he moved to London and started working for the Art School in September 2013

Anne Petters is a multi media artist with a background in glass art and design. In 2009 she received a Diploma in Fine Arts/ Glass at the Institute of Ceramic and Glass Art in Germany and in 2011 the Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture/ Dimensional Studies at Alfred University, New York. Anne has been showing work in glass museums and art institutions in Europe and the USA, such as the Saatchi Gallery, London 2018, the GlazenHuis Lommel Belgium 2018, the Nürnberger Kunshalle Germany in 2014, the European Museum for Modern Glass, Coburg in 2014, the Shack Art Center, Everett, WA and the Vergette Gallery at Southern Illinois University, IL in 2015.

Born in Dresden, Anne grew up in the German Democratic Republic. The political change in her country, which she experienced as a displacement of reality, has had a profound influence on her lifestyle and artistic work. Her interest in controlling and displaying moments of our fleeting, vulnerable existence leads her to a poetic, metaphoric use of glass and other materials, including natural phenomena.

Anne has developed a specific glass kiln forming technique and is teaching internationally. She has been a visiting lecturer at the Institute for Ceramic and Glass Art in Germany in 2012, a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art in 2016 and instructor at the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, at NorthLands Creative in Lybster Scotland and the Summer Academy Bild-Werk in Germany.

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The visit in May 2017 of Tokyo University of the Arts’ Sculpture Conservation and Restoration Lab, led by acclaimed Tokyo based master carver Professor Yabuuchi Satoshi, was a great success. It is very warmly remembered by students and staff at the Art School as well as visitors to the various events that took place during their stay. The report on the activities, funded by grants from the Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Toshiba International Foundation, can be read here

Masa Suzuki employs traditional Japanese woodcarving techniques to make artworks which focus on the differences and disjunctions between the religious practices and cultures in the West and in the East, and the `mis-readings’ that can occur between the two cultures.
Of his recent series of works he has written,

I am particularly intrigued by the way the beggars sit all day without doing anything else. They just sit still and beg. This reminds me of how the Zen monks spend their time. Monks seek enlightenment by sitting still for long periods as part of their practice in the temple, and they make their living through other people’s donations because their meditation is respected. The circumstances and differences between these two groups of people are great, but interestingly, there are similarities in the way they spend their time. By creating a work depicting beggars, I want to draw attention to the lowest class of people in society, and to place them in one of the most respected cultural contexts-the world of contemporary art.

The annual Degree Show Ceremony and Prize Giving is a highlight of the year, celebrating the accomplishments of our talented BA (Hons) and Diploma students.

This year’s event featured remarks by Gabriel Gbadamosi, a writer and poet who was previously our Royal Literary Fund Fellow, as well as from final-year students Oli Epp, Jeanette Gunnarsson and Will Ellyard. Below are a few images, followed by the full list of prize winners. Congratulations to all, and very many thanks to all the donors who support our students in this way.

Gabriel Gbadamosi

Oli Epp and Jeanette Gunnarsson

Will Ellyard

2017 Prizes and Awards

The Idun Ravndal Travel Award: Silje Jorgensen & Nell Nicholas
The Skinners’ Company Philip Connard Travel Prize: Polly Bennett
The David Ballardie Memorial Travel Award: William Hopkins
The Brinsley Ford Travel Award: George Edwards

The Artichoke Printmaking Prize: Natalia Gonzalez Martin, Hannah Hill & Liz Middleton
The Slaughterhaus Printmaking Prize: Natalia Gonzalez Martin
The Printmaking Prize for Technical Excellence: Clementine Hanbury
The Skinners’ Company Stephen Gooden Prize for Engraving: Polly Bennett & Giulia Lodigiani

The Surveyors’ Club Drawing Prize: Sarah Davis
The Taylor Pearce Drawing Prize: Wilfe Gorlin

The Art School Prize for the Best Contributor to the Art Histories Programme: Natalia Gonzalez Martin
The Brian Till Art History Prize for Humanities Thesis: Sam Elgar

The Art School Prize for Gilding & Decorative Surfaces for a Conservation Student: Harriet Lewars
The Michael Legg Prize: Tina Kenward
The Art School Prize for Best Conservation Research: India Carpenter
The Art School Prize for best Practical Conservation Project: Maria Ines Bravo
The Venice in Peril Residency: Jasmin Mackenzie & Anais Vlahakis

The Artists Collecting Society Undergraduate Prize: Andrew Loggie
The Art School Andrew Vass Prize for Experimental Drawing: Lucas Dupuy
The Fishmongers’ Company Beckwith Scholarship for Sculpture: Polly Bennett
The Art School Sculpture Prize: Jordan Heighes
The Merlin Entertainments’ Group Madame Tussauds’ Project Fund Award for a Continuing Student: Maria Positano
The Merlin Entertainments’ Group Madame Tussauds’ Merit Award for a Graduating Student: Kirsty Armstrong
The Chadwyck-Healey Prize for Painting: Jeanette Gunnarsson
The Painter-Stainers Scholarship Prize: Coco Morris
The Acme City & Guilds of London Art School Studio Award: Lucas Dupuy

The Neil Shannon Memorial Award for Stonecarving: Thomas Clarke-Collins
The Masons’ Company – Outstanding Work by a Graduating Student: Liz Middleton
The Masons’ Company – Studentship and Commitment for a Continuing Student: Richard Barnes
Master Carvers Prize for a Final Year Student: Sam Elgar
The Art School Lettering Prize: Sam Elgar
The William Wheeler Woodcarving Prize for Outstanding Work: Kristy Flood

The Fishmongers’ Company Menu Cover Design Prize: Justine Formentelli
The Honourable Society of the Knights of the Round Table Award: Richard Barnes, Sarah Davis & Melaney Gibson-Davies
The InterEsse Prize: Hannah Hill, Liz Middleton & Lucas Dupuy
The Art School Board of Trustees Prize for an Outstanding Piece of Work in the Graduate Show: Oliver Epp

From 27 June to 2 July, our 29 students completing the BA (Hons) Fine Art, BA (Hons) Conservation and Diplomas in Historic Carving showcased their work in the Art School’s historic Kennington buildings. It was a wonderful week of celebrations and recognition of their achievements, as the selection of photos below shows.

After three years at the Art School, these students will be tremendously missed, but we look forward to seeing what wonderful things these most recent alumni go on to achieve. Huge congratulations to all of them!

Work by Jeanette Gunnarrson

Work by Luc Nonga

Work by Jordan Heighes

Work by Giulia Lodigiani and Natalia Gonzalez Martin

Work by Lucas Dupuy

Work by Amelia Kate Sampson

Work by Seth Stewart-Brown and Kirsty Armstrong

Work by Oli Epp

Work by Kirsty Armstrong

Work by Hannah Hill

Work by Will Ellyard

Work by Laura Anderson

Work by Kristy Flood

Work by Liz Middleton

Work by Sam Elgar

Work by Akira Inman

Various works by Historic Carving students

Work by Liz Middleton

Conservation work by Jasmin Mackenzie

Conservation work by Anais Vlahaki

Conservation work by graduating students

My work is positioned around a continuous dialogue between historical and contemporary techniques of printmaking, drawing and photography. Through my process I investigate spaces and connections between the physical, immaterial, digital and ‘natural’, to form a relationship between the observed and the observer. As seen in nature, the pieces build in layers over time, resulting in hybrid objects that index both the computational and the artist’s attention. My process-based works often involve de-constructing and re-forming an image by means of digital intervention to using a scalpel to cut-away details by hand; pencil rubbings to reveal a surface or colour mixing through multi-plate transparency etchings.

Gabrielle’s practice is based around attempting to put shape and form to feelings of insecurity and loss in times of forced change. She is interested in how we react to the space around us including both what is physically there and our perceptions and feelings toward it. We are frequently changing states in order to fit in with changes around us. Each situation has its own set of unwritten rules to negate. Gabrielle is interested in how ‘difference’ is dealt with. When someone does not ‘fit’ in one-way or another. Who in this situation is forced to change or adapt? She is interested in the collective and the individual and which is prioritized during times of change. Her work comes about through process driven activity, becoming a metaphor to ways of reacting to situations that are constantly in flux.

8 members of the jury were assessing the objects before the oral exams

Ines Bravo presented a Plaster bust of Alicia Markova and a 17th C Footstool from Knole House

Anais Vlahakis presented the conservation of a Monument to Marie Corelli and a Sunderland Frame from the Valence House Museum

Lucinda Barnes presented the conservation of a part of a set of Composition Ornament Pressing Moulds and a Marble Hearth of William Morris Gallery

India Carpenter presented the conservation of a Clouet Frame and Beacon of Youth Maquette by Dorian Crone

Jasmin Mackenzie presented the conservation of a Indian Torador Muskets and a plaster of a Head of an Angel of the Victoria & Albert Museum

Sam Parkash presented the conservation of a Rococco Wall Bracket and Plaster Cast of the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Hannah Winn presented the conservation of a Neo-Classical Portrait Frame Late 18th / Early 19th Century and Pair of Medieval Sandstone Heads.

Sam and Hannah did not wish to be photographed during their VIVA.

Final Year Conservation Students Research Symposium
Wednesday 7 June, 10.00 am – 12.30 pm
Victoria & Albert Museum Lecture Theatre

All are welcome to this annual event which will showcase the original research of our graduating Conservation Students. Presentations will include:

Ines Bravo, Comparison of Matting Agents for Synthetic Varnishes Used on Decorative Surfaces

India Carpenter, A Development of a New Methodology for Recording and Monitoring the Condition of 3D Cultural Heritage

Jasmin Mackenzie, A Review of Current Applications of Additive Manufacture in Conservation and Investigation into the Sustainability of Use

Sam Parkash, An Investigation into the Effect of Aqueous Cleaning Gels on the Surface Appearance of Wood with a Wax Coating

Anais Vlahakis, Investigation into the Compatibility of a Lightweight Expanded Glass Aggregate for Lime Mortar

Lucy Devenish’s practice is driven by her explorations of remote landscapes. She makes journeys to far-flung coastal areas of the British Isles where she undertakes wild swims. Each swim is an act of endurance and immersion: working becomes breathing, sweating, struggling.

Lucy translates the sketches she has made, the maps she has scrutinised and the film footage from the swims into bodies of work relating to the coastlines experienced. Recognition of the dispersal of her wake in the water is the driving force for her making through which she seeks both to recollect and to map her encounters.


My work begins as exploration. Working with trees as primary subject matter is the perfect excuse to wander in woods and parkland.  Hours of walking and observation precedes all my work. Gathering tactile information, collecting interesting pieces of twisted wood and stones with meandering veins, but most importantly memories.

Inspiration comes from the mysterious and anthropomorphic nature of ancient trees. They invoke empathy and personal connection whilst simultaneously transcending human timescales and ideas of mortality. I use monochrome for its unnatural perfection, a visual incompleteness and polarizing of tonal values, making that which could be grotesque, appear beautiful and fascinating.

The Conservation course is unique in its emphasis on Historical Crafts. At City & Guilds of London Art School we agree with many professional practitioners and museums that Conservation practitioners must understand materials and their properties not only from the perspective of conserving but from the perspective of the maker. For this reason we run specialist classes for our 1st year students in a whole range of processes so that they can more deeply understand artefacts and how they have been made. This involves learning to cast in plaster, gilding, wood and stone carving, fresco, modelling in clay and in this case japanning. We work with leading specialists such as Professor Alex Schouvaloff, introducing students to techniques and the aesthetic principles underlying such historical art forms.


Gerry Alabone, the Art School’s Senior Tutor in Wood Conservation and Head of Frame and Furniture Conservation at the National Trust is a leading specialist in historic frames. As well as supervising 3rd year students’  major projects he introduces 2nd year students to the complexities of frame conservation – why complex? Because usually some serious detective work is involved, with layers of history being uncovered, from what might at first appear to be an innocent object.. then there are many things to consider, the carving, types of material used for the gesso layers, the gilding, structural supports etc. Gerry’s wealth of experience from working as the Head of Frame Conservation at the Tate Gallery and his current role at the National Trust clearly prove invaluable…

Wooden Polychromed Christ from a private collection


Sophie Barton is a freelance conservator and specialist in polychromy sculpture and gilded surfaces.

Here Jeanne Callanan & Catherine Gray are removing the old varnish of Japanned corner cabinet from a private collection.


Heraldic Cartouche, 1696: Technical analysis in progress with Meredith Thomas and wood conservation tutor Sophie Barton., the material is unknown but we think it may be papier-mâché with a thick pigmented varnish.

The heraldry on the centre shield is likely to be the Coat of Arms for Henry Sydney Earl of Romney, youngest son of Robert 2ndEarl of Leicester. He was Master General of the Ordnance under King William III and marked any warlike stores with his crest (The Broad Arrow or Pheon) which became, and still, is the Ordnance Mark on Government property.

On her final wood project Anais Vlahakis worked on the Sunderland Frame from Valence House Museum in Dagenham. Anais used laser and ethanol to clean it before applying gesso in preparation of to the integration of the replacements to the original decorative scheme.

For her final stone project Anais chose the Angel of Marie Corelli’s grave from Stratford-upon-Avon. She was cleaning the statue in preparation of fills with Lime Mortar toned with pigments to match the colour of the stone, replacing missing fingers with Carrara marble integrating the colour to match the weathered of marble with stain.



As her final stone projects Ines Bravo was working on a plaster bust of Ballerina Alicia Markova from Laine Theatre Arts. She had used a paint consolidate acrylic emulsion brushed on entire bust to consolidate the paint and to work as a protective coating. She has also reattached the hands and rebuild a finger.



As a final wood project Ines Bravo has worked on a Footstole from Knole House. She nailed back the top cover that was partially lifted with its original tacks that were cleaned and coated earlier in the week and in painting the distracting areas of loss to the paint scheme.


For her final wood project Jasmin Mackensie was working on an Indian Musket 1 Siege of Dehli from a private collection.

She has been coating the steel with Paraloid B8n and fixed some badly degraded metal using Japanese tissue and zinc to support the damage.


For a stone project Jasmin has worked on a Plaster Cast Angel playing flute(repro 187-25) from Victoria & Albert Museum. She had been replacing the lost piece of drapery and finger with a reversible plaster fill recessed.


For her wood project India Carpenter was working on a 16th Century Silver Frame from a private collection. Before gilding she has done some burnishing on a test panel and integrated fills Butvar b-98 with Microballoon and Whiting. The finished frame was varnished and placed in the fuming cabinet to dry.





For her stone project India worked on a contemporary plaster model of a statue, The Beacon of Youth by Egon Altdorf

Private View
Tuesday 27 June, 6.30 – 9.30pm

Open Week
Wednesday 28 June, 11am – 8pm
Thursday 29 June, 11am – 5pm
Friday 30 June, 11am – 9pm
Saturday 1 July, 10am – 6pm
Sunday 2 July, 10am – 6pm

Studio Supper
Thursday 29 June, 7-10pm
Tickets £75 (advance purchase required)
Contact for further information

Private View
Tuesday 27 June, 6.30 – 9.30pm

Open Week
Wednesday 28 June, 11am – 8pm
Thursday 29 June, 11am – 5pm
Friday 30 June, 11am – 9pm
Saturday 1 July, 10am – 6pm
Sunday 2 July, 10am – 6pm

Studio Supper
Thursday 29 June, 7-10pm
Tickets £75 (advance purchase required)
Contact for further information

My research began with an obsession for perfecting movement up an accessibility slope in a newly designed architectural extension. As my research developed theories regarding embodiment started to influence and disciplines outside of sculpture including, contact improvisation dance, accessibility engineering, environmental psychology and spatial research in architecture, were used as a source of building a holistic understanding for my aim. This approach transformed the idea of the sensing body from being in contact with architecture, to being in connection with architecture, as though our surrounding is an extension of our own body.

My work employs sculpture, wood working, metal casting, writing, and image production to synthesise various topics I am researching, often dipping into irreverence and hyperbole, but earnest at base. Current topics of research are the rise of genetic determinism (a deeply inhuman form of religion), the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, North Korea, and science fiction. As such my current works carry the appearance of objects of worship, altarpieces, totems and relics that are redolent of a modern day spirituality, but ultimately relate to the human in scale and use.

My research began with an obsession for perfecting movement up an accessibility slope in a newly designed architectural extension. As my research developed theories regarding embodiment started to influence and disciplines outside of sculpture including, contact improvisation dance, accessibility engineering, environmental psychology and spatial research in architecture, were used as a source of building a holistic understanding for my aim. This approach transformed the idea of the sensing body from being in contact with architecture, to being in connection with architecture, as though our surrounding is an extension of our own body.

Alex Frost studied at Staffordshire University (1995), and The Glasgow School of Art (1998). His work has been shown nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions in major private and public institutions including Flat Time House, Dundee Contemporary Arts and Milton Keynes Gallery. He has undertaken several public commissions and participated in the Venice Biennale in 2009.

18 years after graduating from his MFA at The Glasgow School of Art Alex Frost presents ‘Late Developer’ his first mid-career degree show.

Born in Honolulu (1982), lives and works in London. He received his MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art in 2014. He was shortlisted this year for the Catlin Art Prize. Upcoming exhibitions include Island at g39, Cardiff;  …and the soft ground is also a constellation… at Lychee one, London. Recent exhibitions include The Catlin Art Prize, London; A Crazed Flowering, Frameless Gallery, London; Saatchi New Sensations, London; and Art in Romney Marsh Visual Arts Festival, Kent.

When pressed, I say I paint flowers. I know this can come off naïve, but I like the dissonance such an obsolete sentiment can create around current discourses in art. And obsolescence is precisely the point, or perhaps decay; the idea that anything if abandoned will be reclaimed and repurposed.

My work mines histories that sit buried or latent within a landscape and can be invoked. At the same time it explores how modes of perception shift overtime, from the painted observation to the filmed image, what happens if the subject remains the same over so many years, but the method of representing it shifts? Do our methods of looking at it, of comprehending it also shift? This is how obsolete ideas can create discourse in a contemporary context, by positioning new methods in relation to old methods without giving precedence to either.

Molloy’s practice embraces painting, sculpture and installation as a way to explore what it is to exist as a human today. Human behaviour, our relationship with objects, each other and the world around us are some of the themes that Molloy explores, as she navigates herself and the work on a journey into understanding how our bodies and mind exist in the digital and physical worlds.

Video is used as a visual space which allows for Molloy to combine painting, object making and installation within the reality of the screen. This reality on first appearance is a candied world, that offers the viewer an encounter with pleasure and indulgence. On closer inspection this world offers the viewer a deeper understanding, one that explores the darker sides of having a body and being a human today.

In their first visit to the UK, master woodcarvers and conservators Professor Yabuuchi Satoshi, Dr Kojima Hisanori and Lee Pin-Yi, will be collaborating with the Art School’s own expert carvers and conservators on a number of events. The trio are specialists in the research, analysis, conservation and historic reconstruction of Buddhist carvings from the Nara to Edo periods and are based at Tokyo University of the Arts’  Sculpture Research Lab.  They work with Japan’s most important museums and Buddhist temples on conservation projects and new commissions. For this visit they will be bringing their tools and examples of their work, including Dr Kojima’s carving of the Miroku Bosatsu (see below).

Events during their visit include:

Saturday 6 May, 11.00-15.30
London Craft Week presentation and demonstration at City & Guilds of London Art School. Alongside the various events run by our own Historic Carving department, the TUA experts will be giving demonstrations and presenting some of their exquisite work.
Free public event open to all; more details can be found here.

Monday 8 May, 13.30-4.30
Symposium at the Victoria & Albert Museum
with presentations considering the different philosophical, ethical and technical approaches to conservation in Japan and the UK through the exploration of specific case studies.
This is a free event with limited places that will be of interest to anyone working with or studying the conservation of cultural objects. To book a place please click here.  Places are now full for this event. If you are keen to attend please contact for a place on our waiting list. If places become available we will contact you directly.

Wednesday 10 May, 15.00-18.00
Round Table discussion on the Status of Craft in Japan and the UK at City & Guilds of London Art School .
This is a free event with limited places available. Please contact us directly if you would like to attend:

Please note that all events will be recorded.

Supported by the Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Toshiba International Foundation.

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Second-year Woodcarving student William Barsley continues to discuss his studies in the third article of his series ‘The Student Woodcarver’, this time speaking of his love of the Gothic era and providing tips for concentrating while carving. These articles provide a wonderful insight into life at the Art School as well as illuminating the challenges and rewards of woodcarving.

Have a read here: The Student Woodcarver Article 3.

William Barsley working on his heraldic crest commission.


Hannah Birkett studied fine art and creative writing at Lancaster University, and after graduating went on to study fine art at the Royal Academy Schools.  Her practice incorporates sculpture and painting, with a strong foundation in drawing.  She continues to exhibit both nationally and internationally, including Mostyn Open Exhibition (2014), the Royal Academy, Hack the Barbican, and Wisnicz Castle, Poland.  Hannah continues to teach both fine art and art and design to both Foundation and BA students in the UK.


Here at the Art School, as we look forward to much activity in 2017, we would like to use this opportunity to congratulate our talented alumni on their impressive accomplishments. Here is a snapshot of our graduates’ 2016 successes; we greatly look forward to seeing what they achieve in the year to come!

Jan Bulajic

JANUARY: Jelena Bulajic features in Champagne Life at the Saatchi Gallery, which highlights the work of fourteen female artists


FEBRUARY: Takayuki Hara has a solo exhibition at the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology in Poland


MARCH: Rene Gonzalez wins the Clyde & Co Blank Canvas Commission, while the exhibition features seven more fine art & carving grads


APRIL: Oliver Clegg’s particular brand of melancholic humour is profiled in At Large Magazine


MAY: The tenth edition of the XL Catlin Art Prize features Jane Hayes Greenwood among its finalists


JUNE: William Bock, Sophie Mason and Mark Morgan Dunstan speak at the opening of the new Tate Modern


JULY: The student-carved Beakhead Arch at ‘On Form’ at Asthall Manor, alongside the work of alumni Steven Atkinson and Joshua Locksmith


AUGUST: An exhibition of Art School alumni carving and lettering opens at the Lettering Arts Centre in Snape Maltings


SEPTEMBER: Rachel Gadsden creates the painted glass house and animation for the Rio Paralympics Torch Lighting Ceremony


OCTOBER: The most recent selected Conservation alumni embark on the Venice in Peril internship, a long-established partnership with the Art School, working on San Giorgio Maggiore


NOVEMBER: The first Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair includes prints by 24 Art School alumni, staff and students


Pipeline Projects, a new arts space run by Lorraine Fossi, Flynn Murray and James Tabbush, opens its doors in Putney.

We are pleased to reproduce the obituary of Tony Carter, former Principal of the City & Guilds of London art School in December’s issue of Art Monthly written by Alister Warman, trustee of the Art School.

TONY CARTER 1943-2016

After visiting the Imperial War Museum to see the exhibition ‘Tony Carter – Sculptures and Reliefs 1984-91’, Richard Hamilton expressed pride in the achievement of his former student, remarking on how the show had lingered in his mind. ‘His work’, Hamilton concluded, ‘is very cerebral.’ Few would dispute this summary of how Tony Carter went about things. Whether making art or talking about art – his own or other people’s – his approach was typically measured, deeply thoughtful and prolonged. His deliberations could be very extensive indeed; what one critic described as ‘the ultra­painstaking nature of his procedures’ could result in a work requiring three years to reach completion. One such example is his double image of a Zen archer. Its title reads: Arc – the mould and cast of a warp implied by the strain of a bow, 1973-75. As this title might suggest, Carter’s work, for all that it engaged with methods and means bordering on the pharmaceutical or surgical, was driven by an impulse which was essentially poetic. On the one hand he was concerned with ensuring every component was exquisitely fashioned or engineered, while on the other he was ‘loading the object with as much subjective energy as possible’.

In introducing what, sadly, proved to be his final exhibition, programmed in 2015 at The Cut in Halesworth, Suffolk, Carter wrote: ‘Objects fascinate me, not because they stimulate the urge to possess but because of their capacity to reflect aspects of our sensory and psychological condition. My work typically incorporates “found objects” and aims to represent the ways they exist within an extended context of associations. Some of these are obvious and others less direct but all are projections of the human mind and psyche. In this respect they dispel the idea of “innocence”, be it that of the “observer” or the “observed”.’

Born and raised in Barnsley, and in his youth an accomplished pianist, Carter moved further north to begin his life as an artist: from 1962 to 1966 he was a student in fine art at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. This was the period when Hamilton was helping make Newcastle one of the most exciting places to study art. Engrossed in his reconstruction of Marcel Duchamp’s Large Glass, Hamilton used it as a vehicle for his teaching, in effect generously privileging students with insights into the sensibilities and minds of two pivotal ar