14th February 2022
Writing: Thomas Vranch-Ward (Year 12)
On the 15th of November, nine students and three members of staff were given the fantastic opportunity to visit the Royal Collection in Windsor Castle. We had exclusive access to areas of the castle not usually open to the public including the library and the round Tower where we saw several extraordinary artworks.
We had an early start - arriving at the school at 8.00 sharp to be driven to Windsor, where we arrived at 09:15. The unfamiliar routine created a buzz among the students, although the group did take a few minutes to wake up completely.
On arrival, we were taken to the learning centre with two other schools where we were introduced to the group leaders, and the event manager. It is important to mention that throughout the day, every member of staff was very eager to share their knowledge and to make sure we all got the most out of our day. To quote a student, “it was very clear that all the staff and curators were very passionate about their jobs”. The event leader, Sophie, had us all warm up with different exercises and icebreakers, before we were to be introduced to the different artworks.
From 10.00 to 11:10, we went to see three different artworks, to then be assigned one to research further and which we would do a five minute presentation on afterwards. During this time, we were given access to restricted areas of the castle, including the library and the round tower. The vast Royal Collection was truly intimidating with scale. One student said that the collection was “the most impressive thing that [they] have ever seen!” This is also due to the fact that the curators were very clearly fervent speakers and were very passionate about their topic. On return to the centre, we were assigned a cartoon by Hans Holbein of Thomas Moore. A piece which although was never meant to be seen, demonstrated an ingenious method of production and is incredibly valuable to us as artists even centuries later.
From 11:10 to 12:45, we were given the fantastic opportunity to talk to the curator directly where the depth of our knowledge doubled, and our understanding refined ready for our presentation in the afternoon. We were also taught the key points to remember when public speaking, and the stages you need to follow when presenting. This was very welcome to our group; all the students were very thankful and it reflected in our final presentation. After lunch, we had 50 minutes to refine our talk. The other schools were super, and they each had great and engaging presentations. Ours was equally successful and was a perfect end to the day. The curator herself said that she enjoyed the presentation a lot, and the event manager said (discreetly) that we were her favourite group.
Before returning to school, we got the chance to visit the public areas, including the state rooms, where we were once more introduced to incredible artworks.
Overall, the day was a fantastic opportunity for all the students and we are all very thankful for the staff in Windsor, and the art department for making the trip possible.