Gilding: the Language of Light on Gesso Panels, Stone & Plasterwork

Subject: Applied Arts, Gilding
Dates: 20 August 2018 - 24 August 2018
Time: 10:30 - 17:30
Location: The Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts
Tutor: Christabel Helena Anderson
Full price

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£ 385

This course is fully booked.

This course is an exploration by practice of the glorious art of gilding on gesso panels, stone and moulded plasterwork. Course participants will study the origin and varieties of gold and other precious metal leafs, the preparation of surfaces to be gilded, the preparation and application of water and oil gilding sizes, in addition to the application and burnishing of gold leaf.

We will study the methods of water-gilding on gesso panels, such as can be used for gilding icon paintings. This will include hand finishing of the gesso surface, the preparation, application and finishing of bole, methods of water gilding and the burnishing of the gilded surface. We will also learn to create some decorative effects, using the techniques of inscribing and stamping. In addition, we will study methods of oil gilding for use on stone and on moulded decorative plasterwork, as can be seen in architectural features such as plaster coving or ceiling roses.

The course will include the use of both transfer and loose leaf gold. Techniques of handling loose gold leaf will be covered, as well as the use of traditional gilding tools such as the gilder’s cushion, tip and knife. Throughout the course, we will look at related examples of gilding in different contexts throughout the ages and discuss the techniques used to create them, their designs and symbolism.

Participants will complete the course with a small gilded gesso panel, a gilded project on stone and a gilded sample piece of plaster coving, which will demonstrate and record their progress in this luminous art form.

What should I bring?

Participants should bring their own brushes to use during the week, including sable brushes in sizes:



And a short handled acrylic brush in size 4 (such as a Daler Rowney system 3 round)

Click below to see an example of the brushes needed:

Sable brushes

Acrylic brush 

All other materials will be provided.

Who is this course for?

The course is suitable for those beginning the practice of gilding as well as more experienced artists wishing to expand and deepen their knowledge and techniques.

What days do I attend?

Monday - Friday

Do you offer concessions?

Yes, we offer concessions for full time students and OAPs. The reduced fee is £310.

To receive a concession, please apply via our online form.

Tutor biography

Christabel Helena Anderson

Christabel specialises in the creation of holy icons in egg tempera on wood panels, illuminated and jewelled miniature paintings in hand made watercolour on vellum, and cloisonné, champlevé and painted vitreous enamels, created within the tradition of the Orthodox Church. Her work is also inspired by the art, architecture and illuminated manuscripts of Britain and Ireland from the late antique and early medieval periods. She is a specialist in gilding techniques, traditional paint preparation and pigments, early quill written letterforms and hand made inks. She is a Queen Elizabeth Scholar, GIA Accredited Jewellery Professional, and in 2010 Christabel graduated with distinction from the School’s MA programme, where she is currently undertaking a doctoral research project sponsored by the A. G. Leventis Foundation. She also occasionally writes, lectures and teaches both in the UK and internationally.

Upcoming Courses with Christabel Helena Anderson