Fine Art

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 visiting artists scheme brings fresh expertise each term. The Department benefits greatly from its own separate art gallery, the Mount House Gallery, 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.

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 using unusual and challenging approaches, extending the boundaries of their experiences and acquiring new skills.

The Art School not only endorses the structured teaching of examination criteria, but is also flexible in accommodating both group and individual 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, in part through a focus on the work of relevant artists and designers. Co-curricular activities are also offered in film, photography, portfolio preparation and ceramics. The Shell curriculum fundamentally consists of the study of artists and movements throughout history. Focus is 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 deeper awareness.

Up to 70 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 40 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 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 to 5,000 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 to extend their EPQ or 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 and intentions, and for developing visual language. Trips to London galleries are frequent and there is an annual oversees trip for artists and photographers.

Pupils, teachers, parents and the wider community are able to regularly view a diverse programme of curated exhibitions within the Mount House Gallery, from both pupils and invited artists. Painting, printmaking, sculpture, performance art, installation, ceramics and photography are all represented. The Master’s Lodge is a further venue for the display of artwork. Work from individual pupils is also shown around the Art School and displays are frequently renewed within each boarding house and other suitable College sites, further allowing pupils’ work to be promoted.