2020 is the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth (1770-1850), one of the greatest poets of the Romantic age.
He had links with Winchester College through his nephews, John and Christopher, who joined the school in 1820. The College's historic collections contain fascinating material relating to the Wordsworth family.
Coinciding with this year’s anniversary, the school has made a new acquisition that adds to our understanding of this crucial figure in the history of English literature.
Wordsworth was made famous by the poems in Lyrical Ballads, a joint publication with his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It was first published as a single volume in 1798, and then in two volumes, with many new poems, in 1800. Through the generosity of the Friends of Winchester College, the school has acquired a unique and beautiful copy of the third edition of Lyrical Ballads, published in 1802. An early owner had both volumes rebound with blank pages at the end, onto which they pasted cut-paper silhouettes inspired by passages from Wordsworth’s poems.
The making of silhouettes was a popular pastime in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, particularly among young women. Typical subjects were family groups, flowers and portraits. Literary or narrative scenes, like the twenty-three silhouettes in this copy of Lyrical Ballads, were more rarely attempted. These illustrations provide fascinating evidence of a contemporary reader’s response to Wordsworth’s poems. They seem to have been particularly interested in depicting the interactions between figures, and in moments of heightened drama and emotion.
20th October 2020
In the final instalment of our focus on Wordsworth, in this 250th anniversary year of his birth, we reveal a previously undiscovered treasure within the school's collection.
13th October 2020
The texts pupils study in Div, English and other lessons provide springboards for discussion about a range of topics. Ensuring there is content that is both diverse and international in outlook encourages depth of study and understanding.
9th October 2020
As the school considers how it celebrates the diversity of its community, Black History Month provides an opportunity to focus on how pupils are learning about different voices and cultures, and their inseparability from our "own" histories and experiences.
19th September 2020
Science School has a diverse collection of fascinating objects, from an 18th-century microscope, fossils and taxidermy birds, to apparatus used to teach physics in the early 20th century. Twenty-four of the most interesting and unusual objects from the collection are now online.
7th September 2020
Celebrating our history, buildings, people and collections, the school announces two new films and a podcast as part of this year's Heritage Open Days.
26th June 2020
There is always something to celebrate at Winchester College and the last couple of years have been particularly full of significant anniversaries - the opening of the boarding houses and the conversion of Commoners into classrooms - and this summer sees the 150th anniversary of the opening of Moberly Library.