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.
19th July 2021
A new publication explores the College's collection of medieval glass. Created across a period of significant artistic change, they demonstrate the development of stained glass production techniques and the Gothic style from the mid-thirteenth to sixteenth centuries.
5th July 2021
In anticipation of a new Everest exhibition in Treasury this September, Mr Bill Norton, son of explorer and mountaineer Edward Norton spoke to pupils and staff about the challenges and team dynamics of the 1921 expedition.
22nd June 2021
Winchester College has entered a new partnership with Andover College to enable them to run a CCF programme for its students.
14th June 2021
On Sunday 13 June, we hosted the premiere of our Sixty Second Cinema film competition, showcasing the creativity and ingenuity of our first year film makers.
13th June 2021
A number of our Community Service projects seek to make an important environmental impact. The teacher leading our rewilding project in Berkshire, Adam Rattray, explains the context and the progress that has already been made.
28th May 2021
The school's Treasury museum will re-open to the public next month, on Monday 21 June, in line with Government advice.