Sutton Hoo Treasures

Inspired by the film ‘The Dig’ this new virtual workshop aims to capture the atmosphere of Sutton Hoo in watercolour -both the landscapes of the River... Read more

£150 per person
Calendar Icon

29 Mar - 31 Mar 2021

Map Icon

Virtual Art Safari workshop

Brush Icon

Workshop content
Watercolour Painting

Person Icon

Claudia Myatt, Mary-Anne Bartlett

Join us for some virtual time travel with your watercolours!

Inspired by the film ‘The Dig’ this new virtual workshop aims to capture the atmosphere of Sutton Hoo in watercolour -both the landscapes of the River Deben where the ancient treasures were discovered as well as the beautiful artefacts themselves.

Here at Art Safari we are very lucky to be living and working on the opposite bank of the river to the Sutton Hoo burial mounds which caused such a sensation when they were excavated in 1939, revealing a burial ship and a treasure hoard fit for a king. The exquisite craftsmanship of the treasure caused a shift in our perception of the Anglo Saxons – it turns out that the Dark Ages weren’t so dark after all!

Day One – Sutton Hoo landscapes 

To set the scene, we share the evocative landscapes of the Deben Estuary with you and help you portray its moods and atmosphere in your watercolours.

The Sutton Hoo burial ground sits on a ridge overlooking the estuary of the River Deben.  It is believed the site was chosen because the river held a special and central place in the lives the rulers at time, so they chose to be buried at the heart of their territory.  

Today the River Deben Estuary is classified as an area of outstanding natural beauty and the salt marshes and mudflats here are recognised as important habitats for breeding ducks, geese and wading birds as well as salt-tolerant wildflowers such as sea lavender. 

As we explore the Deben, we’ll show you how to select a scene, map the colours, find structure, tackle how light and water work together and enjoy painting the big skies for which Suffolk is famous!

Day Two and Day Three – Treasure hunting

Over the following two days, we will study the Sutton Hoo finds and recreate some of the patterns and intense colours of the Anglo Saxon designs.

The 7th century was a time of extraordinary craftsmanship, creating highly skilled and intricate decoration in precious metals and stones, mainly garnets and gold.  When you analyse the patterns to try and draw them you come to appreciate the wide range of influences that the Anglo Saxons used in their art including Scandinavian, Celtic, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, all fused into their own unique style.  From interlaced knotwork, geometric pattern, narrative, and allegorical to just plain fun, much of the decorative art contained stories and messages in a world where pictures rather than words were the language of all.

We’ll start by looking at the basic motifs repeated in the Sutton Hoo and other Anglo Saxon treasure, and how we can translate some of the elements into watercolours. Using the first of the Sutton Hoo finds, the jewelled sword tip, as a sample, we will recreate the pattern using simple geometry, then add colour using graded washes and layering to give the artwork a jewel-like quality that is so much more than simply ‘colouring in’.

On the final day there will be a demonstration of more complex pattern making, and how you can use the basic elements and shapes to create your own designs which can be used on greetings cards, tiles, decorative panels or abstract artwork.

You will need:

  • A laptop, Macbook, PC, iPad or tablet
  • Watercolour paper, up to A2 size or 16 x 20”
  • Drawing paper – sketch pad or plain paper, up to A2 size or 16 x 20”
  • Sketchbook/notebook and pen (there’s LOTS of ideas and stuff to write down!)
  • Brushes – range of sizes (no.3 and no.6 will do most things)
  • Watercolours
  • Paint palette
  • Jars for water
  • Kitchen towel
  • Pencils (B or HB)
  • Coloured pencils (optional)
  • Waterproof sketching pens

For days 2 & 3

  • Tracing paper
  • Ruler or set square
  • Protractor
  • Pair of compasses

Your tutors:

Mary-Anne Bartlett was born and brought up with the River Deben on her doorstep, and finds constant inspiration in the changing moods and colours of sky and river.  She will spend a day sharing her watercolour techniques which can create an atmospheric scene with a few brushstrokes ….

Claudia loves playing with pattern and has spent many happy hours studying and sketching the Sutton Hoo treasure replicas that are on display at the site.  She uses the elements of the designs to create her own artwork, with watercolour, pens and coloured pencils to portray the depth of colour and tone.  She then uses these designs to create fabrics, decorative tiles and artwork.


10:00 to 12:00 Days 1 to 3: 2 hour Live Zoom tuition
14:00 to 16:00Days 1 to 3: 2 hour live Zoom tuition
Suitcase Icon


This 3-day virtual painting workshop costs £150pp


The joining point for your workshop is wherever you have internet and feel ready and comfortable to paint.


All online Zoom tuition, copious resource material and ideas, and email contact.


Art materials, internet access, personal expenses.

Enquire now on 01394 382235 or

Other workshops you may like


Watercolour Basics II (virtual)

20 Mar - 20 Mar 2021

Claudia Myatt

1 Day

£65 per person

View Details


Taking Watercolours Further II (virtual)

21 Mar - 21 Mar 2021

Claudia Myatt

1 Day

£65 per person

View Details