Historic Varnishes & Finishes: Japanning & Oil Finishing

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Course description

Historic Varnishes & Finishes: Japanning & Oil Finishing:

Suitable for both beginners and professionals, this course will teach you the decorative art of japanning and oil finishing. You'll learn how to prepare grounds for applying lacquer, build up coloured layers, lay decoration and polish the surface of your work to a late seventeenth-century European recipe. You'll also experiment with a range of traditional oil finishes suitable for use on fine timber.

More about this course

This short course aims to give both beginners and those within the profession the opportunity to get hands-on with paint and varnish, refine skills and understand the material and historic context of japanned and varnished surfaces. You'll gain an understanding of fundamental principles of the lacquering process and its development in Europe since the seventeenth century.

The areas covered by the course include:

  • an introduction to the japanning process
  • the nature and production of European and oriental lacquers
  • choosing tools and materials
  • the gesso ground
  • making paint and varnish
  • practical lacquering and polishing
  • decoration and gilding
  • the application of a range of oil finishes

Additional entry requirements

The course is suitable for those with careers in conservation or the arts who wish to understand the principles, history and process of japanning surfaces. This includes professionals and volunteers in museums, galleries and heritage organisations such as the National Trust and English Heritage.

Course info
Start Date: Tue 01st October 2019
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat


London, E1 7NT


6:00pm - 8:00pm


8 weeks


Part time evening


No Qualification



From: £345


Concessions may be available for those on an income-related benefit

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