Studio courses, 75 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10; ongoing; day and evening courses available
Founded in 1845, and one of Britain’s oldest independent art schools, Heatherley’s is among the very few art colleges in Britain to offer a strong emphasis on the skills and techniques of portraiture and figurative painting, sculpture, illustration and printmaking. Each year around 700 students take part in 40 full and part-time courses led by 50 practicing artists.
Catering for all levels of experience, from complete beginners exploring their artistic potential for the first time, to established artists building on existing skills, Heatherley’s is as welcoming as it is prestigious.
Offering everything from one-off one-day courses, to blocks of ten Open Studio sessions, to Short Courses running for twelve weeks, to full-time diplomas for the career artist, there really is something for everyone.
Whether you sketch in your free time and have been meaning to get back into it, or you paint or sculpt regularly but could use some guidance, Heatherley’s have a course to suit. Maybe you specialised in the sciences early on and never felt art was for you; why not dip your oar in the water with a one-day or short course? Who knows, you might surprise yourself. And if not, at least you’ll have a humorous attempt to take home and pass off as modern art.
Based on the traditional French Atelier system, we love their Open Studio option, which gives you open access to a studio and life model in small classes with intensive one-to-one tuition. The setup is super flexible, allowing you to attend any ten sessions across a term. Each session is around 2.5 hours, you can join at any time of the year and choose your own pattern of attendance depending on your schedule.
Heatherley’s tutors and students frequently show their work in museum and gallery exhibitions including the BP National Portrait Gallery Award and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. In recent years, Heatherley’s students have even sculpted work for a Turner Prize artist and made the first London statue of a black woman.
Filmmaker Sir Alan Parker CBE said: ’I have so enjoyed my time at Heatherley’s. Such lovely people in a great place: it’s been most inspirational.’
Rebuilt in 1969, Heatherley’s is currently located on Lots Road, Chelsea. With its purpose-built light and airy studio spaces it’s the perfect sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of modern life. There’s something incredibly meditative about drawing and painting, and we’d choose an evening spent sculpting or sketching over a spin class any day.
All tutors are practicing artists, sculpture facilities include a well-equipped workshop and kilns, and their printmaking studio is suitable for traditional processes as well as photo-etching and photo-silkscreen prints.