Linley Summer School Linley Summer School

To celebrate 30 years at the forefront of British craftsmanship LINLEY selected eight students to take part in a week long program at Messum’s Wiltshire, a tremendous Tithe Barn in Wiltshire. The focus of the week-long event was to raise awareness of the importance of hands-on making courses and design education which in recent years has slowly started to deteriorate. Eight students, carefully selected from the leading furniture colleges in the country, were granted the opportunity to advance on a range of cabinet-making and marquetry skills from master craftsmen.

The skills in which the students learnt were lead through demonstrations and guidance from Jonathan Rose, marquetry expert and fine furniture maker for LINLEY since 1997, and William Warren, award-winning designer and draftsman, and senior lecturer in furniture design at The CASS.



William conducted several sessions to guide the students through the design processes and make sure each student was gaining a deeper understanding of the skills required to create a table. Alongside the physical techniques taught by the tutors, the students were also joined by Bill Amberg, Gareth Neale, and Matthew Hilton who offered the students a perspective into their expertise of exceptional craftsmanship.


Bill Amberg spoke to the students about the process of combining cutting-edge technology with age-old leather-working techniques. The vast range of leathers, all created through differentiating techniques, demonstrated the importance of the four principle aspects which a designer needs to consider when controlling the leathers final outcome;


‘Scale, colour, texture and touch’ – Bill Amberg


By explaining the different effects which the leather could be manipulated to form and its multiple uses in craftsmanship and design, Bill was able to show the students the whole process from the raw material to the end result, teaching the students a different angle on traditional marquetry.




Further on in the week the students took a tour around Jonathan Rose’s workshop, where they were able to interact with the makers and benefit from learning about their experience and expertise before continuing with the press marquetry onto their table tops or drawer bottoms.


The tour around the 500 acres of managed woodland  by Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s at arboretum widened the students knowledge regarding the use of their mediums in marquetry. The tour included vast information on the different types of sycamore, beech and oak trees in the forest.


The final guest speaker to offer some advice and perspective upon craftsmanship to the students was the award-winning furniture designer Matthew Hilton, who offered a more commercial outlook. Matthew discussed his forthcoming collaboration with LINLEY chairman David Snowdon, formerly know as David Linley and Creative Director Carmel Allen, entitled the Savile collection. The collection celebrates LINLEY’s heritage of bespoke furniture, expertise in marquetry inlay and unrivaled knowledge of wooden veneers.

The eight students at the LINLEY summer school were able to advance their marquetry skills and cabinetry making through the remarkable teaching from William and Johnathan.


From Bill Amberg, Gareth Neale, and Matthew Hilton the students were able to identify the different aspects of craftsmanship and the opportunity they have been given to lead it into the arts and crafts movement of the 21st Century.