Art is an integral part of life at Downe House and girls have enormous enthusiasm for the subject. With three art studios, a pottery, two photography studios, a dark room and an Art History suite, girls have the facilities at their fingertips to let their creativity soar. 


Director of Creative Arts: Mrs Kirsten Mortimer 

Art is important in the lives of the girls at Downe House. There is an enormous enthusiasm for the subject and excellent standards are achieved at all levels. 

Lower School curriculum

All pupils study Art and Design for the first two years. This course enables pupils to develop the ability of appreciating the visual world and to respond in a personal and creative way. To this end, pupils have the opportunity to work using a variety of subject matter and media and will develop skills to interpret and convey ideas and feelings using art, craft and design. They also develop imaginative and creative powers and experimental, analytical and documenting skills. Pupils acquire a specialist vocabulary and the knowledge and understanding of the place of art, craft and design in history and in contemporary society. 

Gallery visits and workshops facilitate an appreciation of work from first-hand experience and foster a love of art in a variety of genres and styles from a range of cultures. 

Remove and Lower Fourth

During Remove and Lower Fourth, the art curriculum is focused on giving pupils a comprehensive understanding of the basic elements of the subject: line, shape, form, colour, tone, pattern, and texture. Pupils acquire sound technical skills and are taught how to demonstrate control of materials so that they can handle them inventively to communicate their ideas in visual and tactile form.     

Work is generally thematic, and observational drawing is particularly important. Historical, cultural, and contextual studies are introduced informally. Pupils are encouraged to relate their own practice to their appreciation and knowledge of established works of art, craft, and design. Cross-curricular activities are integrated into the course. 

All pupils are given sketchbooks to enable them to develop their own ideas and to encourage them to work in an independent way. The books are also used to record information and ideas which reinforces learning. 

Teachers are free to interpret the core themes and individual schemes of work are designed to challenge pupils with a range of different learning styles.

During the Lent term in Lower Fourth, pupils decide on their Creative Option choices for the Upper Fourth year.

Upper Fourth

The work in Upper Fourth is designed to consolidate the skills and knowledge gained in the previous two years. Pupils continue to explore a range of media and are encouraged to sustain their efforts to produce personal outcomes. 

Pupils are introduced to a variety of artists/craftspeople and movements to influence and inspire them, and they are offered guidance when it comes to opting for GCSE level.

Upper School curriculum

At Downe House we offer AQA Fine Art at GCSE Level where an emphasis is placed on recording observations skilfully, experimenting with media and techniques, studying the work of relevant artists and developing ideas that lead into the creation of personal outcomes. Explore our GCSE Art Gallery below.

Sixth Form curriculum

Edexcel Fine Art is offered at A Level in the Sixth Form. Explore our A Level Art Gallery below.

Art enrichment

To enable pupils to continue to develop creative expertise, we offer a co-curricular art club focusing on general art and ceramics.

A large number of pupils go on to study Art and Design on Foundation Courses or at University leading to careers in Fine Art, Design, Fashion, Graphics, Illustration, and the Media.

Further information about the teaching and learning of art may be obtained by contacting the Director of Creative Arts, Mrs Kirsten Mortimer.

Creative Arts News

Tours & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.

Book your tickets | Academic Conference – Maximising Pupils’ Potential | Thursday 13 June 2024
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