Calligraphy – italics, uncial and foundational with Gaynor Goffe

Ref: SWE32032

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About this course

Through practical calligraphy using a broad-edged nib, beginners will gain an understanding of formal writing, choosing a basic script e.g. uncial, Renaissance italic or foundational hand. More experienced participants can explore more widely. Scripts will be used in short texts.

Course Description

This practical course is suitable for all levels – beginner to advanced, as much of the tuition is on an individual basis. Beginners will gain an understanding of the basic principles of good formal writing while learning and using a basic script – uncial (a modernised 8th Century round script) or foundational hand (a basic roundhand script modernised from the 10th Century) or Renaissance italic. Those with more experience can improve a script and explore variations.

Beginners will learn how to use a broad-edged pen with confidence and gain some understanding of the potential uses and development of the new skills. Those with more experience will develop rhythm and flow in their calligraphy, improve their skill and expand their repertoire.

Beginners will achieve a basic competence in writing a script and how to lay out a text to produce a finished quotation. Ink and colour in the pen will be covered, and making simple pastel backgrounds. More experienced participants will cover new ground and use scripts in finished texts. There will be frequent tutor demonstrations on a one-to-one basis, and group demonstrations as required. Progressive exercises will be suited to each individual’s understanding and skill starting point.

Course Materials


  • A3 smooth surface cartridge paper, 60-70 lb

What students need to bring

  • Any tools and materials listed in the available to buy section, if you already have them or can easily obtain them
  • Source a few short quotations you may like to try writing out
  • Tissues
  • Apron to protect your clothes (optional)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • The following are usually available subject to availability:
  • Mitchell square-cut roundhand nib size 2, sizes 2.5, 3, 3.5 – optional (left-oblique 2 nib, if left-handed)
  • Slippon reservoir and penholder
  • Pelikan 4001 black ink, or black gouache paint (as an alternative)
  • HB pencil, ruler, Pritt gluestick, scissors
  • If you wish to write in colour:-
  • A tube of Winsor & Newton designer’s gouache (series 1 or 2 are suitable) - the following colours flow well in the pen: turquoise, ultramarine, lemon yellow, spectrum red, alizarin crimson, permanent white and lamp black
  • Small mixing palette with compartments
  • A cheap mixing brush
  • Available from tutor:
  • Spare nibs, reservoirs, penholders

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


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)

General Information


Gaynor Goffe

Gaynor Goffe has been a professional calligrapher and teacher for 35 years. She trained in Calligraphy,
Illumination & Heraldry in the mid 1970's at Reigate School of Art & Design, then spent three years as assistant to Donald Jackson. She taught calligraphy at the Roehampton Institute and on many short courses in Britain and abroad. Publications include 'Calligraphy Made Easy 'published by Paragon/Robinson, and 'Calligraphy Step By Step' by Harper Collins. Gaynor is a fellow of the Calligraphy & Lettering Arts Society, the Society of Scribes & Illuminators and a full member of Letter Exchange.


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

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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 advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). 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.