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Polly's Studio

9 Hastings Road, Rolvenden, Kent TN17 4LS

The course takes place over eight weekly 2-hour sessions:

Thursday 15th August 2024, 6-8pm

Thursday 22nd August 2024, 6-8pm

Thursday 29th August 2024, 6-8pm

Thursday 5th September 2024, 6-8pm

Thursday 12th September 2024, 6-8pm

Thursday 19th September 2024, 6-8pm

Thursday 26th September 2024, 6-8pm

Thursday 3rd October 2024, 6-8pm


Learn the art of Medieval Illumination, or gilding on paper, with Polly Bennett over an eight-week period exploring traditional and contemporary techniques.

From gilding on vellum, to mixing egg tempera, to finessing the skill of making your own feather pen, you will master historical knowledge that is slowly being forgotten. Illumination is on the Red List of Endangered Crafts and therefore all the more important to keep alive!

Please bring a paint palette, a set of gouache paints, a paintbrush size 00, and a No. 10 scalpel blade. If you are unsure, click on the links to see examples of the exact product. Polly will provide the more specialist materials such as various substrates and size. Each student will start with a sheet of gold leaf and you can buy more from Polly as the course progresses if needed.


  • About the origins of illumination and about different types of illumination 

  • The tools and materials of illumination

  • How to gild on paper using different sizes (gilding glues)

  • How to use handle both loose and transfer gold leaf

  • How to make oak gall ink

  • How to make traditional illumination paints, including egg tempera and watercolour using foraged material

  • How to make gesso

...and yes, you will be taking home your very own beautiful illuminated creations!

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