Schools Manuscript Illumination workshops

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

I do, but…

Complex forms of manuscript illumination are best suited to older children (15 years+ as a general guide).

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. Health and safety is paramount as some of the traditional materials are toxic – full guidance is given both to satff and students.

Workshops need to last at least three hours.


To get the best out of a full 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 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.


Manuscript Illumination for Younger Children


Illumination techniques can be adapted for primary school children (5-11 years) who use non-toxic adhesives and imitation gold leaf to produce images with lots of ‘bling’! Please contact me for details – I’m happy to give advice to teachers.