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Marlborough House School

Year 7 Art and French Outing

A new cross-curricular initiative between the Art and French departments. 

By Mrs Fields

Earlier in the year Madame Reeves showed me the wonderful work that her year 7’s had produced as a response to looking at Impressionist paintings.  I was so ‘impressed’ (did you see what I did there) that it was decided that a joint venture should be arranged!

On investigating the Courtauld Institute’s programme for students, I discovered a workshop about Art and Impressionism, which is conducted in French.  It seemed the perfect opportunity.

On the morning of our visit, the most torrential rain meant an extremely slow journey up to London. However, we arrived at the National Gallery (our first port of call) in good time and spent our morning looking at paintings in the Impressionist rooms and recording our observations and feelings about the work, as well as making drawings and notes.

We then had a pleasant walk through Trafalgar Square and along the Strand to Somerset House, where we picniced next to fountains in the beautiful courtyard.  Fortunately, the weather had improved by now, and there was time to make a few sketches of the buildings after our lunch.

Finally, we went into the Courtauld Gallery, where Madame Reeves, myself, Mr P and Mrs Reeves (our lovely helper) accompanied the two brilliant guides and French speakers, through our practical art activities.  The children were asked about the works chosen and were encouraged to respond in French. A lot of the delivery was also in French which kept us all on our toes!

I was impressed by their knowledge of the language and also their thoughtful and astute comments about the Art we viewed.  The part about colour theory really astounded the group I accompanied, they couldn’t believe how cleverly the Impressionists made use of ‘The Theory of Simultaneous Contrasts’!  

The journey home was very slow due to train and signal problems with the torrential rain, but the Year 7’s put a cheery face on it and, although very tired, really enjoyed the trip.    It will definitely be a fixture for next year.