History of Art

History of Art A-level was introduced at Dauntsey’s in 2013 and has since enjoyed steady success, proving to be an appealing area of new academic enquiry in the Sixth Form.

History of Art is integrated into Art lessons throughout the lower school and the A-level initiates formal study of the subject in depth. Pupils relish learning about this versatile subject both in the classroom and at first hand, with educational visits taken to multiple London galleries and museums; the New Art Centre Salisbury; Sandham Memorial Chapel and the Ashmolean Museum. Additionally, an annual trip abroad to an art historical mecca such as Florence, Venice or Rome to explore art and architecture in situ provides plentiful stimulation and discovery.

The course instills in pupils a strong visual literacy, as well as vast historical, conceptual and interpretative awareness – all key skills that are eminently transferable to many careers in our fast-paced and ocular world. At Dauntsey’s, there is just as much emphasis placed upon the ability to express ideas fluently in dialogue as in writing and pupils are nurtured from day one of the course to think laterally and articulate their own thoughts.

Pupils encounter a range of material on the Pearson syllabus, which incorporates examples of non-Western as well as Western art and architecture. The course encompasses a broad introduction to visual analysis, thematic enquiry on the topics of ‘Nature’ and ‘War’, as well as in-depth period study on the Italian Renaissance and European Modernism.

A Level students of the past have been inspired by the inter-disciplinary nature of History of Art and have progressed to study the subject at universities including Manchester, UCL, Edinburgh, Warwick and Oxford Brookes.


Each year, students are encouraged to enter the national speaking competition, ARTiculation, and in doing so many find a new confidence and sense of self-reliance through speaking about art. Visits from prominent art historical professors and lecturers further afford unique opportunities for the discussion and debate of academic ideas about art and the visual world, another highlight in the History of Art calendar.