English Excursion 19.10.12

For the third year in a row, all Upper Sixth English students travelled to London to explore the deep context of their major A2 Paper topics:  Gothic and Pastoral.

The day began with a guided discussion of four paintings, by Claude, Constable, Bermejo and Delaroche and an analysis of their pastoral and gothic implications.  The composite, reptilian devil of Bartolome Bermejo (see below) was a particular attraction with a discussion of its quality of fearfulness while the complex landscape of Claude’s non-idyllic pastoral myth showed us that in Art as well as literature, nothing is quite what it seems.

The highlight of the day was the tour de force of the Walk, led by a tirelessly energetic and hugely well informed Jean Haynes of London Walks.  The students of city-gothic stood on the site of Newgate for public executions, entered Hen and Chicken Yard of Fleet Street where Sweeney Todd went to work and reviewed a locked Victorian urinal, now a listed building.  For the pastoral we saw the herb garden of Lincoln’s Inn Fields, burial grounds converted into gardens belonging to Earl Hatton of Hatton Garden and the tranquillity of Gough Court and garden, site of Dr Johnson’s House.