Glass gilding and signwriting with Richard Walker

Glass Picture framing, gilding, decorative finishes and upholstery

Ref: S4D12455

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About this course

Learn traditional glass gilding skills using a range of techniques and styles. Explore signwriting, drawing on glass and creating new or antique styled mirrors with pure gold and other precious materials.

Course Description

Glass gilding has received a huge resurgence in the last ten years. This art form was particularly prevalent in the eighteenth century, with the craft being resurrected by Jean-Baptiste Glomy in France.

The idea of glass gilding, or verre églomisé, is to have a design that can be transferred onto the glass to combine both gold leaf and painted finishes together.

In modern times, the technique has developed into contemporary signwriting on glass in an assortment of ways, incorporating many different styles of glass gilding – blending the gild, drawing in the gold, the addition of mother of pearl and many more styles.

Whether your interest is in signwriting on glass, general mirror making or perhaps you would like to try creating art on glass, this course will provide you with the necessary guidance and training to open up a whole new world of decoration. Celebrate this relaxing craft by learning these techniques and incorporating them into a design of your own.

By the completion of the course, you will have learned a variety of skills that will teach you how to decorate clear glass with pure gold, white gold, silver, mother of pearl and painted finishes. You will also learn how to blend, draw and provide texture onto the surface.

You will be provided with all materials needed to complete a glass project, as well as a tester panel. This course includes all metals, paints and real gold leaf. For those who wish to develop their skills further, materials are available to purchase through the tutor.

You may also bring along your own glass pieces to work on if you wish.

Our February themed week of short courses for 2023 focuses on GLASS, led by talented artist-tutors Emma Biggs (mosaic), Freya Pocklington (self-portrait drawing), Jessica Turrell (enamelling), Sasha Ward (stained glass), Richard Walker (glass gilding).

Each course explores a different quality of this versatile material, which is integral to our lives in so many ways; its ability to transmit light and colour, create unique and patterned surfaces, or reflect our own image.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course, the college will supply some gilding tools and brushes for use on the course, while the tutor will supply many of the materials required, including:
  • Glass practice sheets
  • Glass framed panels
  • 23.5 carat gold-leaf, 12 carat white gold, Dutch (fake) gold, pure silver sheets
  • Drawing/scribing tools
  • Gilding oil size
  • Masking tape
  • Craft knives
  • Selection of paints - acrylic/oil
  • Abalone/mother of pearl
  • Fish glue
  • Glitter

What students need to bring

  • Sketch pad and pencils
  • You may bring along any framed glass you would like to create a design on, although the College will provide glass for you to work on.
  • Please bring along anything that has inspired you to work on glass, or that you would like to emulate. Any pictures, designs or stencils may be brought along for guidance and inspiration for your work.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A selection of gilding tools and materials if desired
  • Available from tutor:
  • Extra gold leaf
  • Extra metal leaf
  • Extra frames/glass available
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio; this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Richard Walker

Richard Walker studied gilding at the University of Portsmouth. Gilding for twenty years and teaching for fifteen, he has developed a global reputation to top artists, framers, furniture designers, interior designers and museums, where he is renowned for creating new and interesting ways of gilding surfaces in traditional and modern methods.​


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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