Coptic Bookbinding Masterclass

, 10.30 - 17.00
Coptic book binding
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  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email:
  • From £100 – £110
    Concessions available

Discover the art of Coptic bookbinding.

Discover and learn the art of Coptic bookbinding, a method of bookbinding used by early Christians in Egypt from the 2nd Century AD and continued by bookbinders up to the present day. On this one-day course, you will learn the technique of binding a book using a simplified Coptic stitching method.

We will begin our day with a visit to the Treasures Gallery to explore traditional bindings, including in early codex books, and study the range of Artists’ Books on display for inspiration. Then in our Learning Centre studio, you will use bookbinding tools and a range of decorative papers and threads to create a hard cover A5 book using a simplified Coptic stitch.

At the end of the day, you will leave with a beautiful handmade book and the skills to make more books. Your decorative book will make a perfect gift, journal or sketchbook.


This masterclass is led by artist Shelagh McCarthy. Shelagh is a bookbinder and printmaker with a wealth of experience teaching adults with a broad range of abilities. As well as regularly contributing to the British Library’s learning programmes, she has designed and led creative workshops and courses for various London institutions including Central Saint Martins, the British Museum, Battersea Arts Centre and The Guardian Education Centre.

Previous skills, knowledge or experience

None required. This course is suitable for beginners or those with some knowledge of bookbinding who would like to refresh their skills.

Equipment and materials

All materials will be provided. During the course we will cover the particular health and safety instructions for using our press, and other specialist equipment and materials.

Facilities and refreshments

Participants will gain entry to the British Library via Gate 5 on Midland Road. Please meet at Gate 5 from 10.15 on the day and you will be escorted into the building at 10.25. Further instructions will be emailed to you in advance.

Tea and coffee will be provided in the morning. Participants should make their own arrangements for lunch.


Please email to discuss any access requirements.


When: , 10.30 - 17.00
Price: From £100 – £110
Concessions available
Where: Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
Book now