Gilding Course to be Taught by Christabel Anderson

Iconographer, manuscript illuminator, and OAJ contributor Christabel Anderson will be teaching a fully booked eight-week course on the ancient art of gilding at the Prince’s School for the Traditional Arts in London beginning February 6. As a follow-up to this course, and the others she’s taught previously, Anderson will be conducting a five-day course at the beginning of the Orthodox Ecclesiastical New Year, September 1-5 later this year. That course will allow additional time – 35 hours – to absorb the complexities of the gilding processes. Please find the below course description provided by Anderson to the Orthodox Arts Journal.

Gilding: the Practice and Symbolism of the Language of Light

Miniature icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of the Sign, 2012-13 by Christabel Anderson, demonstrating the use of various types of manuscript gilding on vellum with 24 carat gold leaf and the use of ‘shell’ gold paint with hand made watercolors, rubies, sapphires and pearls

Miniature icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of the Sign, 2012-13 by Christabel Anderson, demonstrating the use of various types of manuscript gilding on vellum with 24 carat gold leaf and the use of ‘shell’ gold paint with handmade watercolors, rubies, sapphires and pearls

Course description:
This 5 day intensive course covers many aspects of the ancient symbolism and traditional practice of gilding across a variety of media, including techniques of gilding for illuminated manuscripts, oil gilding on stone and metal, water gilding on gesso panels and the preparation and use of gold leaf paint (‘shell’ gold).

As well as considering the symbolic meaning of the gold, its placement and emphasis, the course focuses on understanding the origin and varieties of gold and other precious metal leafs, the preparation and application of traditional gilding sizes, manuscript gesso and bole, burnishing techniques and decorative effects such as inscribing and stamping. Gilding substrates include vellum, paper, glass, copper, stone and gesso panels and participants will complete the course with a number of gilded samples demonstrating their progress.

Icon of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, second half of the 13th century, demonstrating the use of pale green steatite with traces of gold, Holy Monastery of Xenophon, Mount Athos

Icon of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, second half of the 13th century, demonstrating the use of pale green steatite with traces of gold, Holy Monastery of Xenophont, Mount Athos

Gold and its ‘language of light’ is of immense significance throughout the Orthodox liturgical arts and embodies a profound theology of the transfiguring glory of God’s uncreated light. For practitioners of the liturgical arts the course is an opportunity to more fully consider the sacred symbolism of gold in traditional Christian iconography, in combination with practicing the application of precious metal leafs across a broad range of materials which are commonly used by the liturgical artist. Christabel is particularly experienced in the techniques of gilding for manuscripts and the panel icon as well as having a thorough understanding of their theological significance and suitability. Throughout the course, assessments are made of panel icons, manuscripts and other sacred objects to better understand their meanings and we also contrast this by studying artworks from related contexts.

The course is suitable for those beginning their exploration of gilding as well as experienced practitioners wishing to expand and develop their existing knowledge and techniques. Participants are also encouraged to bring in their gilding projects and discuss future work and any issues they may be experiencing so that they make maximum progress during the week towards mastering this glorious art form.

Byzantine panel icon of the Theotokos Hodegetria from the mid 13th century, demonstrating a gilded background and very fine ‘assiste’ gilding on the painted surface, Hilandar monastery, Mount Athos

Byzantine panel icon of the Theotokos Hodegetria from the mid-13th century, demonstrating a gilded background and very fine ‘assiste’ gilding on the painted surface, Hilandar monastery, Mount Athos

Current course dates:
6 February – 27 March 2014
This course is now fully booked. Please email Sam Pepper (sam.pepper@psta.org.uk)to join the waiting list.

Next course dates:
As noted above, the next course will be September 1-5 2014. Please see The Prince’s School website and Christabel’s Facebook page for information. Email Sam Pepper at the school sam.pepper@psta.org.uk for further details.

Tutor biography:
Christabel Anderson, whose website can be viewed here,  is an iconographer and manuscript illuminator who specialises in the creation of egg tempera panel icons, jewelled miniature paintings and manuscript illumination. She studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies and The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts where she graduated in 2010 with Distinction from the MA programme. In 2011 she was selected as a Queen Elizabeth Scholar for her continuing research and practice in iconography, manuscript illumination and calligraphy. Christabel was commissioned in 2013 to make an illumination as the official gift for Pope Francis. She is undertaking doctoral research at The Prince’s School and also occasionally writes, lectures and teaches both in the UK and internationally

Event link on The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts website.
Venue: The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, 19-22 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3SG.