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Arts Society Huddersfield

Arts Society Huddersfield / Events / Thu 15 Apr 2021

First Catch a Squirrel: Materials and Techniques in Painting

First Catch a Squirrel: Materials and Techniques in Painting

First Catch a Squirrel: Historical Materials and Techniques in Painting From 15th - 18th Centuries. Lecture delivered by Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe

The 14th century artist Cennino Cennini recommended using “the chicken bones that you will find under the dining table” for making charcoaled bone black to paint with. His treatise, The Artists’ handbook, describes some of the surprising materials artists had to master, such as the tail of a squirrel to make paintbrushes. These difficult materials influenced the appearance of paintings long before industrial processes changed the artist’s world. This lecture will explain why 15th and 16th century paintings may seem odd to our modern eyes.

Dr Brotherton-Ratcliffe has an MA in History of Art from Edinburgh and a PhD from the Warburg Institute, London University. With 40 years’ experience as a lecturer, Chantal has taught at Sotheby’s Institute of Art on the MA in Fine and Decorative Arts since 1989 and as a freelance lecturer for a number of societies in London, Italy and America. Having also trained as a paintings conservator, she brings an understanding of the making and the physical painting to her lectures and study sessions.

Event Location

Delivered to members via Zoom at 7.30pm

Guests are welcome to a maximum of 2 lectures at a charge of £5.00 each time. Please email Richard Brown at

who will send you the link and payment details.

Telephone: 07799 333 240

Event Details


Artist, Online, Visual Arts

Age group