History of Art




History of Art is primarily about studying painting, sculpture and architecture and the different contexts in which art is produced, used and displayed. But the prism of art also provides a fascinating lens through which to view cultural history and to examine subjects as diverse as the mythology and the history of the ancient world, literature, philosophy, religion, science, political, economic and social history and much more besides.

Studying the subject at A Level may represent the first step on a path leading to a career in conservation, architecture, art journalism or teaching, art appraisal and even intellectual property law.

With the A Level course, we provide a grounding in art history’s fundamentals through engaging and inspirational lessons that enhance an appreciation and understanding of Western art all the way from Ancient Greece to the present day.

We also ensure that our students hone the writing and debating skills that are crucial to success in the subject, that they acquire transferable skills that help in their careers and that they are well equipped to achieve grades in their final examinations which do justice to their abilities.



Read the Essential Art blog here


A Level

Students study the Edexcel A Level course in History of Art. For full details of the course and an explanation of the assessment refer to the Edexcel Website or the Sixth Form Prospectus.

For more specific year-by-year information, please refer to our Curriculum Handbooks/Information Booklets

Entry Requirements

No prior learning is necessary for candidates to undertake this course, and artistic ability is not a requirement. The specification assumes no previous knowledge of History of Art, and is suitable for a diverse range of candidates. The course and the subject are assessed based solely upon students’ performance on essay examinations, and thus writing is an essential skill for aspiring art historians. Students will receive significant assistance and instruction in essay writing techniques.

Course summary

Paper 1

Visual Analysis and Themes: Identities and Nature in art and architecture

Paper 2

Historical periods:

  • Rebellion and revival: the British and French Avant-Garde (1848-99).
  • Brave new world: Modernism in Europe (1900-1939).


The department runs day trips to galleries, museums and places of artistic interest across London and beyond. Each year the students are offered the opportunity to spend time in places such as Venice, New York, Paris, and Barcelona. 



Head of History of Art: Hannah Kroes