Artistic director Allyson Austin

Bored, need some inspiration, a new hobby, something to unlock your artistic potential? Well now is the time because Sunningwell School of Art, near Abingdon, is throwing open its virtual doors with a new series of on-line art courses for all ages. 

Everyone from 5-80 year-olds, complete beginners, those who want to improve, water colourists and wanna-be sculptors, are all in luck because Sunningwell has moved its classes online, with 15 all encompassing options to choose from.

the necessary Art materials are delivered to your door during lockdown

Artistic director Allyson Austin says: “We really want to inspire people who are beginners.

Sunningwell School of Art

“So for example, The Absolute Beginners class on Friday afternoons is for people who have always wanted to learn to draw or paint, but previously been intimidated by others who may have had more experience.

“This class puts those people at ease by everyone being in the same boat. We also provide all their materials (which are delivered to their door during lockdown) so there isn’t any massive initial outlay, and it removes the anxiety in the art shop of not knowing what grade compressed charcoal to buy!”

Sunningwell School of Art is tucked away in the picturesque village of Sunningwell, north of Abingdon in Oxfordshire. The school was founded by a group of enthusiasts in the former village church school, after the building became vacant in 1972. 

Sunningwell is where the young JMW Turner stayed with his aunt and uncle (who lived in the village) drawing and painting the church opposite the school 

The age range of students spans from 5 years old to over eighty and the three Rs have been replaced by drawing, painting, sculpture and pottery. The school ordinarily offers daytime and evening classes and caters to around 400 students of all abilities – supporting, advising and encouraging students to develop their skills and talents.

The walls of the well-lit studios, containing easels and tables, are covered with students’ art work from absolute beginners to the most advanced.

Founded by Duncan Killen who was a Canadian artist, and Leonard McComb RA, the school building was secured in the late ‘70s through the collaboration of Blackwell Scientific Publications and the politician Airey Neave.

Sunningwell is also where the young JMW Turner stayed with his aunt and uncle (who lived in the village) where he drew and painted the church opposite the school. 

To book, enrol on a Sunningwell’s School of Art course or to check out the options go to:


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