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Learn to recreate the striking beauty of medieval (mediæval) panel paintings using traditional methods such as egg tempera and gold leaf. In impressive purpose-built studio surroundings in the heart of Newcastle you will experience the craft of early painting techniques. The workshop, delivered by experts with extensive knowledge and experience in the field of art conservation and traditional painting techniques will provide a unique and valuable insight into the world of the medieval artist and craftsman.

The course will provide a practical opportunity to recreate historic panel paintings, using traditional painting techniques. Practical workshop sessions will include an introduction to methods for panel preparation, painting and gilding.

Course outline as follows:

Day 1: Wood preparation for painting, traditional panel construction

Day 2: Gesso and bole application  

Day 3: Tempera painting techniques

Day 4: Tempera painting techniques

Day 5: Gilding, panel decoration

Materials, lunch and refreshments will be included.

Course Information

Award Type Certificate of Attendance

Delivery Method Blend of Lectures and Workshops

Mode of Study
Practical Workshop Based

City Campus

Start TBC

1 Week (5 Days)

Digital, Tech and Creative


Northumbria University is one of only three institutions in the UK, providing courses for art conservators who wish to specialise in the conservation of easel paintings and currently the only course for paper those wishing to specialise in paper conservation (preservation and treatment of watercolours, prints, drawings and paper items in general).

As such, we have a team of practitioners who continually share knowledge of historic art techniques, practice and art analysis and our aim is to keep traditional skills alive.  We have excellent relationships with partner museums such as Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives, Bowes Museum and National Trust and provision supports conservation students wishing to engage in the wider field of the practice arena.

Designed by a practice based professional team this course is tailored towards individuals who are engaged in driving and enabling practice development in the museum/arts conservation sector as well as those artists, students with a general interest in historic painting techniques.

Learning will take place in a friendly relaxed atmosphere surrounded by charming stained glass windows and decorative wooden panelling of a Grade II listed building in the heart of Northumbria City Campus. Even with little, or no experience of historic painting techniques, participants can fully immerse themselves in the sumptuous colours, materials and techniques used by mediaeval artists and craftsmen. The workshop follows a well organised structure which aims to proceed at a steady, but enjoyable pace so that those taking part will gain maximum experience out of the week.

Furthermore, all the materials required to carry out the processes will be provided at the venue. For the final touches participants will learn the fascinating process of applying precious gold leaf to give a stunning jewel-like finish to their pieces. At the end of the week they should have a beautifully crafted reconstruction to take away with them, which can make the ideal gift for friends or family, simply keep forever as a memento, or even use as a basis for further practical research in the future.

Northumbria University has been rated as world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2014).  Conservation staff are research active.

The skills you will learn throughout the course will enable you to approach aspects of historic panel painting with confidence.  For practicing artists of any background or experience, help your practice by refining your painting technique and repertoire. Even complete beginners will be able to create authentic looking artworks, as well as improve their understanding of historic materials and techniques. For conservation researchers and practitioners this is an almost unique opportunity to focus on historic methods and materials and to set aside time to gain practical experience of reconstructing layers structures and surfaces, which is invaluable for future research and treatment rational.  


“I found the workshop extremely interesting and the teaching delivery very professional, knowledgeable and responsive to my needs and ability. I would recommend it to other artists interested in medieval panel painting techniques.”

“Everything was explained very well for each step of the panel making process.”

“For me, the practical demonstrations of techniques, gilding, painting and panel preparation were a highlight.”

Course in brief:

Preparation of panels: Wood preparation, application of preparatory layers, canvas, gesso bole

Painting: Painting techniques, gilding, panel decoration

Who would this course suit?

Art Students, Artists, Technical Art Historians, Conservation Students, Conservation Professionals

The course is designed for all levels of engagement: from amateur artists wishing to try new techniques, to professional conservators aiming to develop/extend their knowledge of historic techniques. 

There are no minimum entry requirements


Please register your interest for this course and we will be in touch once we have confirmed dates.

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