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History of Art AS and A Level *Fees Payable* at Cheltenham College

Course description

Art History is a very popular subject at College; we have recently enjoyed very promising results at A Level coupled with a high intake to good quality Universities.

By studying this subject, the aim is to encourage students to develop and communicate their understanding of:

  • The roles and achievements of practitioners 
  • The relationship between art and society 
  • Art historical terms, concepts and issues 
  • Methods of researching, investigating and analysing
  • Use of evidence and how works are interpreted and evaluated

Course content

A-Level History of Art

  • Encourages first-hand experience and critical awareness of works of fine art, architecture, craft and design
  • Promotes a broad history of art experience for AS and a more focused one for A Level 
  • Develops critical, research and other skills, providing a sound basis for progression to higher education and employment


At AS Level, students should develop:

  • The foundations of knowledge and understanding of art historical movements, practitioners and works, within chronological frameworks 
  • The ability and confidence to express and communicate knowledge and understanding 
  • Awareness of art historical terms, concepts and issues 
  • Knowledge and understanding of the significance of techniques and materials in the creation of artefacts
  • Understanding of the principal methods of analysis and interpretation 
  • The ability to make critical judgements 
  • Active and independent learning


At A2 Level, the course builds on AS, allowing for greater depth of study by providing the opportunities to develop:

  • An awareness of different sources of historical evidence 
  • Understanding of the relationships between society and art within historical and other frameworks 
  • Knowledge and understanding of the significance and role of environment, setting, display and audiences 
  • An understanding of art historical approaches, such as technical, formal, iconographic and contextual 
  • Increased independence in learning 
  • Skills to explore, enquire, evaluate, discuss and compare evidence, and develop and support persuasive argument and counter-argument

Entry requirements

The course is open to anyone with an interest and enthusiasm for the subject. However, it would complement Art, Politics, History, or English A levels in particular. A background in a modern foreign language would also be an advantage.


Pupils are prepared for the AQA Board History of Art A Level, Subject Code 2250.

This comprises four units: at AS, HART 1, a one hour unseen photo paper, and HART 2, a one and a half hour paper testing candidates' knowledge of specific Themes and Topics.

At A2, candidates study two Historical Study Topics; Art and Architecture in seventeenth-century Europe and Art and Architecture in Europe and the United States of America between 1900 and 1945.

Financial information


Please ensure that you understand that course fees will be payable before submitting your application.

Further information

Work Experience and Opportunities

We have recently formulated a new work experience link with Simon Chorley Art & Antiques based at Prinknash Abbey, alongside our more established link with Sotheby’s in London. We have also taken on work experience candidates in the department, in the form of Old Cheltonians.

In the past we have offered Italian classes, intended to complement students studying the Italian Renaissance, as part of the current AS specification. We have also forged strong links with the company Art History Abroad, in an attempt to provide up to date information for our students’ potential trips to Italy and elsewhere.This link has been strengthened further via Mr Evans, formerly an AHA Tutor, who joined the department at College in September 2013.

Naturally we have forged close bonds with neighbouring schools such as Cheltenham Ladies’ College along with the local NADFAS organisation, providing fine opportunities for art historical events.

Lecture Programme and Evening Events

There is now established a great tradition of both in-house and external lectures centred around Art History at College, intended to inspire pupils and provide an insight into careers in Art History abroad, lecturing, auctioneering and much more. Similarly, several cross-curricular evenings have been designed for Sixth Form students, centred around a generic theme or genre each time. Past events have been a Renaissance evening, ‘The Elements’ and the Golden Section. Each time students are provided with a platform to present on a given topic and, in turn, to learn something of the 360 degree nature of this wonderful subject, which encompasses not only Art but also literature, music, science, politics, history and sociology to name but a few.

Competitions and Prizes

College participate in the Annual Articulation Prize Evening hosted at Roche Court in Salisbury. This provides excellent opportunities for developing University style approaches to learning and ties in neatly with our plan to foster independent learning. The finals are held in a Cambridge College and showcase the country’s leading independent schools’ art historians. Formerly, Andrew Swait (OC) was highly commended for his presentation "Anonymity and Iconography: The Enigma of The Wilton Diptych.

We also enter pupils for the scholarship offered by the company Art History Abroad. The scholarship awards the winner the value on an Art History Abroad 2 week summer course (£3275 in 2012). Applicants are asked to write 400 words on a work of art they love and a further 400 words on a work of art they loathe. Recently, an U6th student was runner-up in the final selection process, gaining him a prestigious place on the AHA summer tour of Italy.

Visits and Trips

Alongside UK trips to Cardiff, Oxford and London, former trips have taken students of this subject to New York, Boston, Paris and Italy.

Art History Society

There is an active and popular History of Art Society, with regular meetings and an interesting array of talks, which tend to focus on non-syllabus material to encourage a broader understanding. The Society also actively encourages independent learning and presentation skills, via student-led seminars and discussions.



How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Cheltenham College directly.

Last updated date: 09 December 2016
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