Art in Antiquity: a first-hand exploration of ancient production techniques

Art in Antiquity is a new series running in each Trinity Term at Wolfson College. The purpose of the series is to provide an opportunity to experience hands-on approaches to ancient art production techniques through a combination of seminars by experts and workshops by master craftspeople.

Focusing on the people, tools and processes involved in the making of ancient art, the series intends to develop new perspectives and generate new research questions.

Initiated in Trinity Term of 2013, the series has encouraged scholars from a number of separate departments and disciplines to come together and consider important questions about ancient art production.

The programme investigated four major ancient art forms: stone carving, bronze casting, mosaic production and painting (encaustic and tempera). The series included excellent seminars by Peter Rockwell (sculptor, artist and scholar on ancient stone carving techniques), Dr Peter Holmes (independent scholar), Dr Will Wootton (King’s College London) and Dr Susan Walker (Sackler Keeper of Antiquities, Ashmolean Museum).

These academic talks were accompanied by Saturday workshops, including a full day stone-carving workshop led by Peter Rockwell, a visit to a bronze casting foundry with an opportunity to try out cuttlefish bone casting, a Roman mosaics workshop and a traditional painting workshop, practising encaustic and tempera techniques led by Ashmolean Museum conservator, Jevon Thistlewood.

Trinity Term 2014

After a very successful series last year, we are pleased to announce the programme for Trinity Term 2014. This year, seminars and workshops will engage with the production of ancient ceramics, glass and textiles. We have arranged for top academics to deliver expert seminars on Fridays of Weeks 2, 5 and 6. Workshops will be led by experienced craftspeople on Saturday, including a trip to Hampshire to experience Roman glass making. The seminars are free and open to all, but workshop space is limited, so please sign up as soon as possible!

The series has been supported by generous grants from the Lorne Thyssen Research Fund for Ancient World Topics, the Wolfson Ancient World Cluster and the Wolfson Academic Committee. It has been made possible by the kind guidance of Wolfson fellows Dr Jacob Dahl and Dr Janet DeLaine and has been organised by DPhil students Helen Ackers and Nicholas West.

Links of interest for those interested in production:

King’s College London, Art of Making in Antiquity, Stoneworking in the Roman World

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