Schools Manuscript Illumination workshops

I’m often asked if I run workshops for schools.

I do, on the understanding that:


a. Manuscript illumination is best suited to older children (15 years+ as a general guide).

b. It is not for everybody. It is intricate work, requires a fair amount of concentration and students need to be able to wait whilst pieces dry.

c. Workshops need to last at least three hours.


To get the best out of a manuscript illumination workshop students need to ‘opt in’ or, at the very least, be selected as having both an aptitude for and an interest in detailed art work.


Motivated students pick up illumination skills very quickly and can produce some stunning results – see below.

schools manuscript illumination workshops by Toni Watts

These students took their new skills and inspired younger children at Lincolnshire Show.

After discussion with the Head of English, the students then selected poems inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to use as a basis for creating new illuminated manuscripts. The themes of war and freedom resonated strongly with them in the wake of recent terrorist attacks.


Manuscript illumination is more than just ‘art’. Together with the history of the written word it encompasses communication, english, history, science, geography and even medicine – topics that cross the national curriculum.