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Creativity is at the core of the Bryanston philosophy and much value has always been attached to freedom of expression in the arts. We have many exceptional artists and designers amongst our alumni, including Lucian Freud, Sir Howard Hodgkin and Sir Terence Conran.

One of the great strengths of Bryanston art is its variety. There is in no sense a school style and pupils involved range from beginners and enthusiastic amateurs to the most accomplished practitioners.

Within the department, housed in the purpose-built Don Potter Art School, there are specialist areas and teachers for drawing and painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, printmaking and textiles.

Douglas Knight
Head of Art


Art is compulsory in the first year at Bryanston when pupils are introduced to the diversity available and encouraged to try different media. It is a popular choice at GCSE and sixth form, and pupils regularly gain places at leading art colleges.


Art and Design GCSE (AQA)

Most pupils opt for endorsed Fine Art (2D), which allows them to select from a range of media, such as painting, sculpture, printing and textiles. Endorsed Three-Dimensional Design is also offered.

60% of marks are for coursework portfolio over two years. 40% of marks are on an externally set assignment taken at the end of the course.

All work is internally marked and externally moderated.

A level

A Level Art and Design (AQA)

Following on from GCSE, this A level Art and Design develops advanced visual research skills. There is a blend of theory and practice.

  • Component 1: one coursework project and a related study [Historical Critical Study] (60%)
  • Component 2: controlled test over 15 hours in May of the second year (40%)

IB Visual Arts

IB Visual Arts is broken down into Process Portfolio (40%), Contextual Studies (20%) and Exhibition (40%).

Pupils are given starting points that allow them to develop their breadth of study and then are encouraged to produce personalised projects using a range of media and technique

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Pupils also have plenty of opportunities to get involved in art outside the classroom with an art ECA, art pioneers and large-scale projects for the pupil-led festivals D Perform, The sCene and A3 Festival.

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Art Scholarships

Art scholarships are available and, as well as strong observational drawing and recording skills, candidates should also be able to show a lively interest in the subject by providing evidence of work they themselves have initiated.

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London exhibition

Every 3-4 years, Bryanston pupils have the opportunity to display their work alongside that of distinguished OB artists in an exhibition showcasing the diverse talents of the school’s current and former pupils. The most recent exhibition was Bryanston Today at Mall Galleries, London in November 2016.

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Timelapse Art Project

A timelapse video created by recent Bryanston pupil Tim Raben showing the creation of a piece of his own artwork.

Case Study

"When arriving at Bryanston I never expected art to be as important and develop in the way it did."



When arriving at Bryanston as a music scholar and all-rounder I never expected art to be as important and develop in the way it did. However, it progressed into a huge passion and once I started on a piece I found myself wanting to spend every moment in the art department, engrossed in what I was doing. It is for this reason that after my gap year I intend to study art at university. I developed a keen interest in studying animals, and it all started with elephants! I try to portray the different characters and personalities of the animals I study, especially the chimpanzee paintings. This subsequently caused the evolution of a fairly unique painting style of splashing paint to create the texture of the chimpanzee’s fur. Chimps have dominated my A level coursework, and visiting Monkey World with my matron (who kindly took me there) gave me further insight into their behaviour, which has given more depth and meaning to my work. I am very grateful to the art department for supporting my desire to work on a huge scale and they have been very tolerant with the splashed paint, which has covered not only my canvases, but also the walls of the studio!



Childhood memories and precious moments from the past are the theme of Lucy’s paintings and ceramic sculptures created for her A level exam. ‘I visited my granny’s house soon after she died and took photos. Then I added gold to the images, focusing on round shapes within the image.’ Lucy then made the rounded shapes in clay and fired them with a metallic glaze: ‘I was trying to make an abstract thing hold-able and tactile.’ The final stage was to produce paintings of the sculptures using oil on canvas with gold leaf added.



Piers works in spray paint and stencils. His massive image of a purple cheesegrater is likely to be one of the most eye-catching pieces in Bryanston’s 2016 London exhibition. ‘It’s about taking an everyday object and making it interesting. I like working with stencils because you don’t know what it’s going to look like as you build up each layer,’ he explained.



Isobel’s 3D piece features real-life body casts made in ghostly white wax and arranged in a series of stacking boxes. ‘It’s quite a gaunt, slightly creepy thing,’ she explained. ‘This piece compresses figures into small spaces, like playing sardines.’