The King's Foundation The King's Foundation

Snowdon Summer School at Highgrove

The Snowdon Summer School is our flagship programme for furniture makers to learn high-end furniture-making skills which will raise their portfolio and practise.

Now in its seventh year, this week-long programme provides an exciting opportunity for eight talented students to learn traditional cabinetmaking and marquetry techniques from master craftspeople, from material selection to advanced finishing techniques. Over the course of six days, students make a piece of furniture each which forms a vehicle for learning skills required to make in industry at the highest level.

About the Course

The course is an intensely social experience for students, who live together on-site at Highgrove and strive to work productively and passionately in a supportive studio culture. During the training week, students will:

  • Learn to make fine dovetail drawers in sycamore and elm. They are given instruction in a hybrid technique using hand and machine tools with the upmost care.
  • Generate ideas for marquetry tabletops. Each student selects their best option and cuts it from veneers by hand, to be glued up in a press
  • Receive an introduction to the process of polishing up furniture to a ‘mirror’ finish.
  • Rub back and apply a finish to additional pre made components before assembling a complete item of furniture that incorporates their dovetail drawer and marquetry top.

Throughout the week, visiting lecturers in craft and design share their viewpoints and experience. Students are encouraged to explore and develop their own mindset and approach to making creatively and accurately, in order to hone their furniture making skills.

In addition to the practical work, students will spend a day in the woods with a forester to discuss trees, growing and the process of harvesting and converting trunks to useful timber. They will also visit a professional furniture workshop to glue up their marquetry tops, meet practitioners and see real working environments.

The Summer School demands that you work to a very high standard, as would be expected in a commercial set-up. Maintaining this high quality throughout all my work, will be my benchmark going forward.” - Emma Chesterton, furniture designer-maker.


The Snowdon Summer School will take place from Monday 15th – Friday 19th July. (Participants will need to arrive for the course induction on Sunday afternoon).


The Snowdon Summer School is taught by Nick Wright, Furniture School Manager at The Snowdon School of Furniture at Highgrove, and Jonathan Rose, a cabinetmaker of more than 25 years who employs a team of makers creating bespoke furniture for a distinguished client list. This intensive educational programme will also include visiting makers.

“There will always be a market for finely made objects, using the beauty of natural materials. Creating an object yourself is a hugely rewarding thing to do, and it’s something most people miss out on in today’s avenues of employment. We need to be able to supply the bespoke market for years to come.” - Jonathan Rose


The course takes place at The Snowdon School of Furniture, part of The King’s Foundation at Highgrove, a centre for traditional crafts set in the beautiful countryside of the Cotswolds.

Costs and Funding

Places on The Snowdon Summer School are funded and include self-catering accommodation. Students are asked only to contribute £250 towards materials costs. Participants will need to organise their own travel to and from the venue.

Entry requirements:

To be considered for a place on The Snowdon Summer School, applicants must be able to demonstrate:

  • A desire to forge a career in cabinetmaking or work in fine carpentry workshops
  • Experience of wood working, wood machining and hand skills
  • An interest in learning traditional cabinet making skills and marquetry techniques
  • An interest in sustainability and the environment
  • Creativity and potential, demonstrated through a high-quality portfolio
  • A strong work ethic

How to apply

Please follow the link to the application form to apply. Applications close on Friday, 7th June 2024 at noon.