First Year Study Trip to Paris

In early February, 31 of our BA Carving and BA Conservation students travelled to Paris for a study trip with a team of Tutors: Sophie Barton (Stone, Wood and Decorative Surfaces Conservation) Jim Bloxam (Books & Paper Conservation), Rian Kanduth (Gilding), Viv Lawes (Art History), Wilfe Gorlin (Wood Carving), James Patrick and Sam Elgar (Stone Carving).

The annual Medieval Study Trip is generously supported by the Stuart Heath Charitable Settlement, who’s grant provides a subsidy to first year students wishing to attend. The trip has been put on hold over the last few years due to the pandemic, and so we are thrilled to have it back on the calendar.

Day 1
We checked into our accommodation, and then started our trip with an afternoon visit to the Louvre. Our Books & Paper Conservation students took the opportunity to see the exhibition ‘The Splendours of Uzbekistan’s Oases’, featuring masterworks including pages from one of the oldest monumental Korans from Katta Langar and monumental wall paintings.

Day 2
Our first full day in Paris began with our BA Stone, Wood and Decorative Surfaces Conservation and BA Carving students visiting the Musée de Cluny to see its collection of Medieval Art. The conservators stayed at the museum until the afternoon, whilst our carving students visited the Pantheon, the Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the exterior of Notre-Dame Cathedral. Meanwhile, our BA Books & Paper Conservation students spent the morning at the Sorbonne School of Art History and Archeology with conservator Dr Élodie Lévêque.

The group from the morning re-gathered to visit the Church of Saint-Sulpice to see the Rococo fonts and wood-panelled vestry. Tutor Viv Lawes then took Conservation students who wanted to see the churches that the Carvers had seen in the morning to visit Notre-Dame and Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Our Books & Paper Conservation students spent the afternoon at the Mazarine Library with conservator Alizée Lacourtiade.

Day 3

Wood and stone carving students enjoyed an all-day walk with visits that took them on a chronological journey of French sculpture, led by Wilfe, Jim and Sam. Their day started at the Arc de Triomphe, where they studied the magnificent quadriga. The tour ended at the Musee D’Orsay looking at the Carpeaux sculptures, whilst also taking in the Rodin Museum.

In the morning, our conversation students visited the Musée des Arts décoratifs and spent time in the conservation studios. Our Books & Paper students met with conservator Cecile Huguet-Broquet, who guided them through the workshops of graphic arts and books restoration and the collections department. This was followed with a visit to the books and paper, textiles, wood and metal studios. After lunch, the students visited the museum, with some staying until the end of the day, whilst others moved on to other museums, including the Musee D’Orsay.

Day 4
All students and tutors joined together for a morning trip to Versailles. Here, they met with third year BA Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding student, Arielle Francis, who lives in Paris.

In the afternoon, the conservators went back into the city, where our Stone, Wood and Decorative Surfaces students visited the Ecole Boulle, a fabulous school for furniture and design. Books & Paper students went to the Conservation/Restoration Workshop at the Department of Manuscripts and Ancient Books, where they met the Head of the Workshop, Sylvie Struyve. Our Carvers headed to the Père Lachaise Cemetery to look at some of the commemorative sculpture, followed by a visit to a nearby tool shop.

A few of our students ended the day with an evening visit to the Musee D’Orsay, for its late-night opening.

Day 5

For the last day of the trip, our students were given time for independent exploration before travelling home. Some of our carvers, with tutors Viv and Rian, visited a wonderful tool shop followed by the Musee D’Orsay. Their group joined up again with Arielle Francis at the legendary tea room Angelina to end the trip with a hot chocolate.


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