Study Days and Tours

Illuminated Manuscripts

  • An introduction to illuminated manuscripts of the early and later middle ages.
    The work and lives of the scribes and artists.
  • How were the colours made? Did they ever make mistakes?
  • A case study, looking closely at one manuscript in particular.


 The Bayeux Tapestry

The events leading to the main battle fought on what is supposed to be the most memorable date in our history.
What is and, as importantly, what isn’t shown.
Made in England, but who commissioned it?
A close look at the tapestry itself.

 Signs of the Times

  • An introduction to signs and symbols in churches and manuscripts.
  • Symbolism of animals, numbers and saints.
  • We will also have time to look at the less expected things such as the Laudable Conditions of Mary (how to work out precisely which verse of St Luke’s Gospel is being illustrated in an Annunciation scene) and will be able to dissect and analyse some well-known paintings for their underlying messages.


 Anglo-Saxon England

  • The glories of England before the Conquest and why it was so appealing to migrants.
  • The ship-burial at Sutton Hoo, its treasures and its significance.
  • Bede: his world and works.
  • Viking invasions and the havoc they wrought.


The Plague Years: no Triumph, no Tragedy

  • The effects of the C14th plague known as the Black Death.
  • The chroniclers’ response.
  • Changes in society: what happened when at least 50% of the population perished in about eighteen months?
  • The artists’ response: shifts in taste in church decoration.
  • Why some pagan images became popular in churches.


 The Vikings

  • Who were they, where did they come from and why?
  • Their beliefs, myths and society.
  • Good traders or ferocious pirates?
  • Their impact on Britain and the rest of Europe.
  • The Rus.
  • Viking art and its influence on our churches and manuscripts


Land of Gods and Heroes: Sicily

  • Ancient Sicily: Greek influences and Roman occupation
  • Norman Sicily: 133 years of multi-cultured art and government
  • Antonello da Messina: Sicily’s great Renaissance artist


Study Tours

Usually for ACE Cultural Tours or Martin Randall Travel


Churches of Norfolk (An Appointment with Angels)

Churches of Suffolk (Suffolk Seraphims)

Churches of Romney Marsh

Churches of Dorset

Churches of the Herefordshire School

The Age of Bede

Northumbria in the First Millennium

An Introduction to Anglo-Saxon England

A White Garment of Churches (French Cathedrals)

and a modern one:

Folkestone’s Contemporary Art (a single day tour)