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Term-time Life Drawing courses at the Ruskin

The Ruskin School of Art is delighted to announce that our popular life drawing courses will continue in Trinity Term, 2024.

The Ruskin School of Art welcomes artists who wish to learn more about life drawing at the University’s Fine Art department. The life drawing courses are held on Wednesday evenings and Thursday evenings during term-time and are led by tutor-artists Francesca Shakespeare and Laura Degenhart, and Francis Hamel, Roger Wagner and Clova Stuart Hamilton respectively. Please note that the classes will not be held in week 6 of Trinity Term.


The courses are open to those who are seeking to develop their technical skills and be guided in the process of observation by an experienced artist.  No specific qualification is required to attend the course, though participants must be 16 or over.

The courses run from Week 1 to Week 8 of the University term (see here for term dates) with the exception of Week 6, on Wednesdays, beginning Wednesday 24th April; and on Thursdays, beginning Thursday 25th April.

The classes take place at the Ruskin's Basement studio at 74 High Street, OX1 4BG. The venue is wheelchair accessible. If you require further accessibility information, please click here.

A maximum of 16 participants work with a life model, guided by the tutors. (NB: the models - both male and female - pose in the nude.) The Ruskin provides easels, drawing boards and cartridge paper.  Please bring along whatever materials you wish to work with e.g. pencils, charcoal etc, and clips or masking tape for attaching your work to the drawing board, and an eraser. 


Wednesdays, 5.30 - 8.30pm, Trinity Term 2024. (No class in Week 6)

For Oxford University students, staff and alumni, as well as non-members of Oxford University,
with Francesca Shakespeare (week 1-3) and Laura Degenhart (week 4-5 and 7-8).


Thursdays, 5.30 - 8.30pm, Trinity Term 2024. (No class in Week 6)

For Oxford University students, staff and alumni, as well as non-members of Oxford University,
with Francis Hamel and Roger Wagner.


Fees and Booking

For Trinity Term 2024, the fees for the 7-week course are:

  • Non-members of Oxford University: £175

  • University of Oxford Staff and Alumni: £131

  • University of Oxford Students: £66

Booking is done via the University's online store,  and will open on Monday 15th April, 10:00am.

If you book a place as staff, alumni or student of the University, you will need to present your University of Oxford card or Alumni card at the start of the course. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a place for the course without this confirmation. If you need to arrange for an alumni card, or replace a lost card, please click here.    

Places cannot be reserved in advance but are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. These courses are always very popular and places sell out quickly. 

We cannot carry waiting-lists over from one term to the next, but will start new waiting lists each term. It is not possible to carry forward any classes that you are unable to attend to the following term. If you discover that you cannot continue with the course after having started, please send an email to the Ruskin to let us know, so that we can contact someone else on the waiting list: reception@rsa.ox.ac.uk

To receive news on courses offered in the future, please subscribe to our Ruskin Short Courses mailing list by sending an email to: ruskin_shortcourses-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk

(You will then receive an automated email from SYMPA asking you to confirm your subscription request.)

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation at least a week before the start date will entitle a full refund. Cancellation less than a week in advance and up to the day before the first session will ensure a 50% refund.  Any cancellation on or after the day of the first class will not be refunded. This policy is independent of the cancellation policy listed within the terms and conditions of the online store and takes precedence over that policy.

Course Tutors

Laura Degenhardt

Laura works from a studio in Jericho, Oxford, painting and drawing landscapes, still life and people.  Her practice is underpinned by the belief that the creative process is fundamentally important for the wellbeing of artists and the spiritual condition of the society in which they work. Practicing as a plein air painter, she is inspired by the transformative experience of drawing and painting a subject 'in the moment'.  Laura was educated at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and ran the life drawing programme for the Art Department at Oxford Brookes University, where she taught on the undergraduate and postgraduate Fine Art degree programmes. She now focuses her time on her studio practice, regularly venturing into the landscape to work plein air, and teaching.

See Laura's work on her website lauradegenhardt.com, and on Instagram @lauramdegenhardt


Francis Hamel

Francis Hamel is a painter based in the UK and working between studios in Oxfordshire, London and Le Marche in central Italy.

He was born in 1963 and trained at the Ruskin School of Art whilst at Magdalen College, Oxford.

He is known for his landscape painting and portraiture.  His practice involves painting and drawing from observation and includes paintings of the circus and theatre, flowers, still life and monumental tree paintings.  He has a particular interest in gardens and managed landscapes. 

Since 1995 he has been represented by the John Martin Gallery in Albemarle Street, London W1.

In 2008 he was commissioned to make a large collection of murals and paintings for permanent display at Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly.  In 2019 Francis exhibited a collection of 28 portraits of leading figures in film and theatre at The Victoria and Albert Museum in London together with a collection of theatre paintings.

Coincident with the exhibition at the V&A was publication of a 215 page book “Francis Hamel. Paintings and Drawings”.  This features a wide selection of the artist’s work with essays by Sir Richard Eyre, Professor Niall Ferguson, Colin Harrison, Joanna Kavennah, John Martin and Rosy Runciman.

A second book ‘The Gardens at Rousham, paintings by Francis Hamel’ was published in 2021 to coincide with the ‘Rousham, Through the Gardens’ exhibition. The book includes all the paintings from the exhibition and essays by Francis Hamel, Joanna Kavenna, Tom Stuart-Smith and Christopher Woodward.  

For more information, please see his website at: www.francishamel.com

Francesca Shakespeare

Francesca Shakespeare lives and works in Oxford, where she divides her time between teaching, art projects and her own painting. A great believer in creativity in the community, she works regularly with the Ashmolean Museum, local schools and other agencies to design and deliver art projects that inspire, educate and connect people.

Her own practice is rooted in her love of ancient materials and techniques that unlock the past and allow her to explore the present. Using pigments, waxes and plasters she creates timeless fragments, full of colour and texture, that communicate those aspects of life and nature common to all humanity through all ages.



Clova Stuart Hamilton

Clova trained at the Ruskin and the Royal Academy Schools in the 1980s, winning a number of major prizes and scholarships. Always working from life, her commitment to drawing and intense scrutiny of the subject can be traced back to her rigorous training and, in particular, to the teaching of the painters Jane Dowling and Peter Greenham. Although most visible in the large, searching and rhythmic pencil drawings and life room studies, the primacy of drawing underpins all the painted work.  Her paintings probe worlds of unusual and distinctive colour harmonies; whether muted and subtle as in the French interiors or rich and sensuous as in her exotic still life subjects or flower pieces, as she responds to a particular stimulus and mood.

Teaching has been an important, greatly valued and much enjoyed feature of her career.  Initially teaching Art and Art History in the highly regarded Art Departments of St Paul’s School, Barnes and Radley College; she then diversified into the teaching of adults at Sunningwell School of Art.  Currently, she balances part time work in the dynamic and adventurous Art Department at OLASS in Oxfordshire with delivering lectures, short courses and workshops in a range of contexts.

Clova's paintings and drawings can be viewed at:


Roger Wagner

Roger Wagner read English at Lincoln College Oxford before studying under Peter Greenham at the Royal Academy School of Art.

For more information on Roger’s extensive exhibition history and work please visit his website at  www.rogerwagner.co.uk

last edited: May 2nd 2024