Art Amatoria offers residential painting and drawing courses in the beautiful setting of Duns Castle in the Scottish Borders.

The courses are taught by Edinburgh-based Claudia Petretti, an experienced and highly successful artist with many solo and group exhibitions to her name. Claudia has been teaching art courses for fifteen years and so is well placed to guide and advise you on how to get the most from your time.

The courses cover a range of disciplines and styles with the aim of inspiring students to explore different ideas and media. Themes covered include landscape, still life, interiors and portraiture and Claudia will encourage students to consider perspective, colour, composition and proportion. From drawing the interior of the Castle to setting up a still life group to sketching outdoors (weather permitting), there will be plenty of opportunity to develop your technique and learn new skills.

The courses are suitable for all levels and aim to cater for complete beginners as well as those with some experience who are looking to improve. Class sizes will be kept small so that each student can have the benefit of individual tuition.

Duns Castle is located just outside the town of Duns in Berwickshire and has been run by the same family for over 300 years. The Castle dates from 1320, although it has been considerably enlarged and embellished over time. Its present Gothic Revival form was completed by the celebrated architect James Gillespie Graham between 1818 and 1822. This private home is not open to the public and you will be welcomed as a guest of the family during your stay.

The cost for a 2 day residential painting and drawing course is £320 per person, which includes:

  • Two days' tuition, from 10am to 4pm each day
  • Lunch, tea and coffee and refreshments on both days
  • A three course dinner with a glass of wine (additional drinks on top)
  • Accommodation for one night
  • Cooked Scottish breakfast

Non-painting partners are welcome. We also have a non-residential rate for those who live locally. If you are coming from far away it is possible to stay on the Friday night and the cost is as follows: £130 bed and breakfast or £180 dinner, bed and breakfast. 

Forthcoming Dates:

We hope to hold a weekend in late summer/early autumn 2019

We are happy to arrange private weekends for groups of five or more at any time of year. 

Below are some comments from previous guests:

'A heartfelt thank you for a wonderful weekend in the stunning castle of Duns. From the moment we arrived we enjoyed superb hospitality and our every need was graciously catered for. The castle and grounds are truly beautiful and to have the experience of being 'house guests' in such an environment was a unique experience, well worth repeating!  The expert tuition, companionship with fellow painters of all levels, our delightful hosts and the grandeur of Duns makes this a truly memorable weekend!'

Allene, Dumfriesshire

'From the moment I arrived to the minute I left I was made to feel most welcome by yourself and your lovely family.  Staying in a privately owned castle in such a majestic setting was itself a rare treat but to add to that the brilliant tuition from Claudia Petretti made it so memorable.  It has inspired me to take up the hobby of painting and shown me it was something I should have done many years ago.

The accommodation and food were outstanding. The small group of other aspiring artists, with experience that ranged from absolutely nothing to advanced were all supportive of each other. Claudia was exceptional in her ability to teach varying levels and her encouragement made all the difference, especially when we had such an array of amazing subject matter to chose from.

To anyone who wants a relaxing and inspiring painting weekend, in the most palatial of settings, I can truly recommend yours, for all abilities'.

Kim, Elgin





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