BA (Hons) Carving: Woodcarving & Gilding

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The Art School has an unbroken tradition of teaching sculpture, stone and woodcarving since it was founded in 1879. We play a crucial role in keeping alive the skills essential for preserving the world’s most important monuments and buildings, and offer the UK’s only BA (Hons) course in the subject.


In addition to advanced carving techniques, we provide specialist teaching in related subjects including drawing, modelling, frame restoration, casting, portraiture, artistic anatomy, ornament study, gilding, heraldry, design and the history of carving in architecture and sculpture.


We believe strongly that specialist skills should not be taught in a vacuum, so we make Art Histories an integral part of all our courses, and teach it in such a way that it informs, inspires and incentivises. Read more about our engaging approach and stimulating Art Histories programme.


We have excellent links with the industry, both through the Art School’s numerous collaborations and through the tutors’ own professional networks. Our alumni are sought-after for commissioned work and positions in the heritage industry, and many of our students go on to work in historic carving projects in Britain and abroad.


You will study in a motivated, close-knit group of around 30 carving students.  For certain elements of the syllabus, you will work alongside students from both pathways.  All of the tutors are inspiring, established professional carvers, gilders and sculptors, who combine working on some of the country’s most prestigious projects with teaching at the Art School. As active professionals, their experience and valuable network of industry contacts make for a highly vocational course.

We pride ourselves on our staffing levels, so although the final year of the course is primarily self-directed, you are guaranteed all the one-to-one supervision that the subject demands.


Our career development and professional practice seminars cover everything from estimating, marketing and websites to setting up a workshop and working to commission. Live projects will help you develop your portfolio and provide valuable opportunities to learn about the commissioning process first-hand.


Former students often find work in leading workshops serving the architectural heritage world and the restoration industry. Many set up workshops on their own or with fellow students. The Art School’s alumni have carried out many significant projects on historic buildings including the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St Pauls Cathedral, Ely, Worcester, Lincoln and Gloucester Cathedrals, York Minster, the Globe Theatre, Temple Bar, Brighton Pavilion, Uppark House, Westminster Abbey and Kings College Chapel, Cambridge.

New work by former students can be seen in many major public commissions. Examples include the Modern Martyrs statues for Westminster Abbey, the Tibetan Peace Garden at the Imperial War Museum, the Lion and Unicorn Sculptures for the spire of St. Georges Bloomsbury, and the statue of Sir Hans Sloane in Chelsea. Contemporary sculptors who have employed Historic Carving alumni as assistants include Anish Kapoor, Rachel Whiteread, Damien Hirst and Peter Randall Page.

You can download a pdf of our prospectus here and check out our News page to find out what’s been happening at the Art School.


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