History of Art

History of Art


History of Art is a long-established and very successful subject at Marlborough and is taught within the largest department in terms of both pupils and staff of any leading school. We are concerned with human achievement in the sphere of visual creativity, and our programme embraces the study of painting, sculpture and architecture. Pupils learn to hone their critical skills by analysing works of art, develop their aesthetic sense by acquiring an overview of major artistic themes and trends, and train the eye in identifying characteristics of genres and styles. Pupils are taught a range of interpretative and evaluative approaches to canonical works and are encouraged to consider the changing role of the artist and artistic production within different periods, societies and cultures. History of Art is a very popular option with pupils and we have a proud record of sending a good number of these to read the subject at first-rate universities each year. Former pupils are currently reading History of Art at Oxford, Cambridge, the Courtauld Institute, Edinburgh, Bristol, Exeter, Manchester, Amsterdam, NYU Abu Dhabi, and other leading universities.


Pupils at Marlborough follow History of Art in the Sixth Form through the Cambridge Pre-U programme (syllabus Art History 9799).
The aim of the course is to make pupils aware that History of Art is both an exciting and an exacting academic discipline, and one that equips young people with discerning visual literacy as they face a world increasingly dominated by images. Pupils learn about the currents and influences that worked upon artists in the past; they also gain insight into the materials, methods and practices that brought art into being.



A very important part of their learning concerns the appreciation of works of art as cultural artefacts belonging to specific historical and cultural moments. It is our hope that pupils will come to see art as a subtle gauge of how people experienced life in the past.

The department runs successful and popular trips to enable students to encounter key works at close hand. These range from short trips to the galleries of London, Bath, or Oxford and cathedrals and country houses, to more intensive residential visits to Paris, Florence, Rome, Naples, Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Haarlem, or Delft.
One trip this year was to Northern Italy (Venice, Mantua, Vincenzo, Padua, Urbino, Ravenna, and Bologna), and another was to Paris. Other regular extra-curricular activities within term time include lectures from academics, museum curators, art critics, and practising artists and architects.



Dr F S Mc Keown BA PhD (Head of Department)
Mrs R Scott BA MA
Dr N G Hamilton BA PhD ATC
Mrs A T Woodford BA