Marlborough’s Art School is a vibrant, inspirational and engaging creative environment, where every pupil’s individuality and potential to fully realise their artistic ambitions is highly valued.
Open seven days a week, the purpose-built Art School comprises six large studio spaces with specialist areas for painting, separate intaglio and relief printmaking, ceramics, photography, engraving and drawing, as well as an Apple Mac digital media suite. Many Marlburians use our facilities on a regular basis: artists preparing for examinations are joined by those who like to work for personal pleasure, as well as beaks who make time to continue their practice.
Teaching staff include five full-time specialists and three technicians, and our artist-in-residence scheme brings fresh expertise each year. The department benefits greatly from its own separate art gallery, the Mount House, next door to the Art School and a large number of excursions to London galleries as well as regular trips abroad to cities such as Venice, Madrid, Paris, Florence and Rome.
Innovative art can be created through an investigative outlook. Marlburians have the opportunity to explore and gain accomplishment in both contemporary and traditional art making techniques. Every year group is encouraged to work with new and unfamiliar art materials, alongside approaches which are challenging, to extend the boundaries of their experiences and acquire new skills. This also helps to instil a progressive approach for all future studies. Varied creative methods of tuition are practised, through art forms ranging from the core discipline of observational drawing to the use of digital media. From experimental printmaking, or ceramics, to sculpture and painting workshops, every pupil’s personal artistic process, knowledge and interests are enriched. This initiates a greater visual sensitivity to life in general and enables a more articulate visual dialogue within our pupils’ art.
The Art School not only endorses the structured teaching of examination criteria, but is also flexible in accommodating both group and an individual pupil’s creativity and aspirations. We nurture imaginative, critical thinking and provide opportunities to communicate creative initiatives, techniques and original ideas, all of which contribute to a highly rewarding artistic life at Marlborough.
Pupils are introduced to painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics and photography, partly through a focus on the work of relevant artists and designers. Co-curricular activities are also offered in film, photography and ceramics. The Shell curriculum fundamentally consists of the study of artists and movements throughout history. Focus is also placed on the contemporary artists exhibiting in the Mount House Gallery. Pupils assimilate a greater understanding of artistic language through practical studio work and written responses. They are also encouraged to discuss art in class, which develops a more mature insight and greater artistic awareness.
Pupils follow the AQA Fine Art GCSE course. Coursework (60% of the final mark) consists of more than one unit, exploring different ideas, various media and the work of relevant artists. Their portfolio must encompass at least two artistic disciplines, from a selection, which includes drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, animation, installation, mixed media, photography and film. The Controlled Test (40% of the final mark) comprises a short project, culminating in a 10-hour final resolution.
Up to 50 pupils each year take the AS and A2 level courses (OCR Fine Art and OCR Photography). Our Upper Sixth pupils achieve superb results at A level, with many candidates regularly gaining entry to leading Colleges of Art and Design for Foundation Courses, and direct entry to art-based degree courses.
At A2 level, pupils should be experienced enough to undertake independent, creative work, specialising in an area of study which includes painting, printmaking, sculpture or lens-based media. Pupils are also expected to complete a 3,000 word related study. The Controlled Test is a short project with a final 15-hour sustained resolved piece.
Pupils are welcome to work in the Art School during afternoons and at weekends, to pursue personal interests in different media, or extend school projects. Photography, Film, Sculpture, Printmaking and Ceramics workshops are also available within the Shell and Remove Options programme. There are weekly Life Classes for the Sixth Form, held in the Art School throughout the Michaelmas and Lent Terms. Talks by visiting artists are held at the College, sometimes taking place in conjunction with their own exhibition. The interaction between pupil and visiting artist is regarded as invaluable for sharing knowledge, intentions and for developing visual language. Trips to London galleries are frequent and there is an annual oversees trip for artist and photographers.
Pupils, teachers, parents and the wider community are able to regularly view a diverse programme of curated exhibitions within the College gallery, the Mount House. The gallery is an educational resource, providing valuable opportunities to experience an extensive range of artworks at first hand. Exhibitions of pupils’ work are held in both venues and work from individual pupils is also shown around the Art School. Displays are frequently renewed within each boarding house and suitable College sites, further allowing pupils’ work to be promoted. The Mount House Gallery also hosts exhibitions by invited artists. Painting, printmaking, sculpture, performance art, installation, ceramics and photography are represented.
Marlborough’s teaching staff and technicians are all respected artists, who bring a complementary group of art specialisms to our pupils and collectively form a progressive centre for excellence.
All staff are encouraged to develop personal schemes of work to enrich the curriculum, as some of the most demanding and exciting art by pupils often emerges through inspiring teachers, working from their own specialisms.
E F J Twohig MA, MFA, RI, Fellow of RE (Head of Art)
J H Parnham BA MA (RCA) (Head of Visual Arts Promotion)
R L T Bruce BA (Head of GCSE Fine Art)
J J Duplock MA
S M Humston MFA (Artist-in-Residence)
E Van Schoor
L M Ward BA (Head Technician)
R Ward BA
I A Wilkins BA MFA (Head of Photography)