Atelier training has origins in the bottega system of the Renaissance, whereby novices were apprenticed to a master artist or craftsman who was responsible for their instruction. By the nineteenth century, a typical atelier was usually the personal studio of an established artist who accepted a small number of students for private instruction. Thus, John Singer Sargent sought out the studio of the fashionable portrait painter M. Carolus-Duran to supplement his studies at the Ècole de Beaux Arts in Paris.
At the Sarum Studio, the emphasis is on working from life, under natural light, in adequate space, from the start. Students are guided through a personal course of study under the individual supervision of Nicholas Beer, with assistance from Alastair Barford (alastairbarford.co.uk) and Helen Davison (brownhound.co.uk). There are no student teachers at the Sarum Studio.