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Making a Medieval Manuscript

Full Day Watercolour Workshop
with Peter David Scott

Cancelled: It is with regret that we are having to cancel this event due to the COVID-19 restrictions. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Paint your own decorative illuminated manuscript page using as many authentic techniques and materials as possible in the wonderful medieval surroundings of Bishops Manor. You will even be making some of the tools and materials yourself.

Your finished page will consist of a colourful decorated capital letter which will be illuminated with with figures, plants or animals. This is a painting workshop and not calligraphy, but if you wish Peter can also help you add a few words in medieval script.

You will be supplied with a piece of heavyweight polished rag paper. Paper began to be used as a more cost effective alternative to vellum and parchment for manuscripts in the medieval period. Our paper is made in the same Italian town which made the first ever paper in Europe in the 13th century. Made entirely from cotton, it will be hand polished with agate to a beautifully smooth finish ready to apply your design.

Using supplied templates and source material to adapt or copy (as medieval illuminators would), you will design your own page layout ready for inking and painting.

The ink will be traditional Oak gall ink and you will be supplied with 2 large goose feathers with which to make a quill pen for outlining your design and a fine-pointed feather brush for painting details.

You will also have the chance to help make Ultramarine paint using ground pigment and Gum Arabic. The colour is a rich deep blue and is chemically identical to medieval Lapis lazuli. I will also have some genuine Lapis to show and compare. In the Medieval age this blue was more costly than gold.

Large areas of gold would originally have been done with gold leaf gilding but the raised layers of clay on which the gold is applied need many hours of drying time, and so is impractical for a one day workshop. Your page will be illuminated using faux gold ink applied with a brush which is an adaptation of a medieval technique using genuine gold ground into paint. Though real gold was used on lavish medieval manuscripts, artificial gold was also regularly used as early as the 13th century, and we will be using a modern ink which gives a subtle and pleasing metallic gold finish.

Workshop Schedule

Tuesday 1st December 2020
10:00 am to 4.00 pm

£60 per person

We Will Provide

2 Goose feathers

A sheet of thick cotton paper ready to polish

Tracing paper

Cartridge paper


Oak gall ink

Faux gold ink

A selection of paints

Tea, coffee and cake

You Will Need

A small set of watercolours if you have them

Watercolour brushes (including at least one fine pointed brush size 0 to 2)




Jam jar for water

If you have a magnifying glass, this would make applying the details easier

A packed lunch

About Peter

Peter is an award-winning illustrator with nearly 50 solo books published worldwide. He has been commissioned by most of the well-known publishing houses, including Reader’s Digest, Harper Collins, Random House, Bloomsbury, Dorling Kindersley and 16 children’s books for Usborne. He has also worked in television, advertising and regularly in magazines, supplying all the artwork for the monthly column ‘Hidden Britain’ in BBC Wildlife magazine. His artwork has been exhibited in London, Norwich and many venues in his native Yorkshire as well as the ‘Art of the Picture Book’ exhibition as part of the Guildford Book Festival. He has a large watercolour in the permanent collection of ‘Nature in Art’ in Gloucestershire. His artwork was selected for the Association of Illustrators annual in 2012. Peter has recently completed 24 watercolour artworks for a new book ‘Time to Rhyme’ which is out now. Peter has taught painting and drawing in various media for over 25 years and currently runs several popular classes and workshops.

Book Your Place


Pay now with your debit card, credit card or PayPal through Eventbrite. Subject to a booking fee. Alternatively, pay by cheque or cash at Screetons office, 25 Bridgegate, Howden.

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