Linocut Workshop: Animals, Monsters and Dragons Inspired by Ulisse Aldrovandi’s ‘Storia Naturale’

Linocut Workshop: Animals, Monsters and Dragons
Inspired by Ulisse Aldrovandi’s ‘Storia Naturale’

tutor: Nick Morley

9-13 August 2022

in collaborazione con Fabriano paper
in collaborazione con Fabriano paper

In this five day workshop you will make a small series of prints inspired by the publications of Ulisse Aldrovandi, who was born 500 years ago. Each student will create a series of three prints: an animal, a monster and a dragon.
At the end of the workshop all the prints will be editioned and collated, and each student will take home a set containing all the prints made during the workshop.

During the workshop you will learn how to:

  • Carve a lino block using a range of tools to make different marks
  • Plan your design and transfer it to the block
  • Control your carving to produce accurate lines
  • Ink up the block properly and print by hand and on the press
  • Mix colours and create a colour blend
  • Register a two block linocut
  • Create an edition of identical prints

The workshop will also cover an introduction to materials and tool sharpening.

Students will be encouraged to draw inspiration from the local animals and plants by exploring the area around the castle and village of Montefiore.

About Ulisse Aldrovandi
Ulisse Aldrovandi (Aldrovandus) (1522-1605) is one of the founders of modern Natural History. In in 1561 he became the first professor of Natural Philosophy at Bologna University. Arrested for his heretical ideas, he was held in Rome for a year, during which period he developed his interest in the natural world. He began making expeditions around (what it now called) Italy and collected vast numbers of animals, plants and minerals. His collection attracted many important visitors and the surviving specimens are now housed at the Palazzo Poggi in Bologna, along with many of the original woodblocks that were used to print the illustrations in his publications.
In 1568 Aldrovandi founded Bologna’s Orto Bonanico (Botanic Garden), one of the first of its kind. The Orto Botanico still exists today, although not on its original site.
Following his retirement from teaching in 1600, Aldrovandi devoted himself to writing. His Storia Naturale, published in thirteen volumes, was intended as a complete guide to the natural world. Each book contained woodcut illustrations alongside the text. Only two volumes were printed in Aldrovandi’s lifetime, with the rest published posthumously. To modern eyes, the woodcuts of animals are a strange and beguiling mixture. Some are accurate depictions, others less so, with many appearing fanciful, mythical or downright bizarre. Two volumes in particular, Serpentum et Draconum Historiae (serpents and dragons) and Monstrorum Historia (monsters) contain the strangest images.


Nick Morley is an artist and illustrator who specialises in linocut. He has more than twenty years of printmaking experience and teaches regular workshops at Hello Print Studio in Margate, which he set up in 2013. His illustrations have appeared in books and magazines and in 2016 his book, Linocut for Artists and Designers was published by Crowood Press. It has sold over 17,000 copies and has become an indispensable resource for many artists.

  • This workshop is suitable for beginners and those with some experience
  • Language: English-Italian
  • 5 day workshop 9-13 August 2022
  • Location: Castle of Montefiore
  • Timetable:  10-13 / 14-17
  • Cost: Euro 325 (concessions: students and under 26, euro 275)
  • Materials and tools necessary for the workshops are included in the cost of the course and will be provided for each participant.

Informazioni generali

  • Participants are advised to bring your own drawing set, and clothing suitable for work in comfort, dirty, etc.
  • Usually at lunch time we eat together. Everyone brings their own food.
  • A certificate of attendance will be awarded at the end of the course.
  • There is a limit of 10 places per workshop
  • 5 participants are needed for the course to operate
  • If the course has insufficient participants to run, those already enrolled will receive a full refund of the amount they paid at registration.
  • Participants who have registered but find they can no longer attend will be refunded half the registration fee providing they notify us at least 20 days before the course commences.
  • Early registration is recommended in order to secure not only a place on the course but also accommodation in Montefiore.