Capturing the High Street by Clare Cory (Ashmolean)

‘I hadn’t realised how much Turner had altered it from how it really is’ (Yr 9)

On Tuesday we met to compare Turner’s painting with the High Street of today. As we positioned ourselves by the door shown in the far left of the painting, we were surprised to find how much artistic license Turner had used. We couldn’t see most of the buildings Turner showed from this viewpoint! It seemed that the whole right hand side of the street had been (clicked and) dragged into view.

We were very aware of the contrast in street level activity as bikes and buses whooshed past us. Chris positioned himself precariously in the central island of the road to use a 360 camera to capture the view today…

The students took photographs of shops, colleges and churches from unusual viewpoints. They focused on (hidden) architectural features and details they had never noticed before: gargoyles, hidden animals, carved doorways and leaded windows. Students also recorded the sky and clouds which were remarkably similar to the painting. We took special notice of number 115, today this is ‘Hobbs’ but was once the shop of James Wyatt who commissioned the painting.

DSC_0100_w800h532A highlight was a behind the scenes tour of The Queen’s College, organised by Access Officer Harriet Rudden. We were fascinated to see the ‘quads’ interiors of the chapel, refectory, junior common room and the library complete with architectural drawings and models for a future building project. It gave us all a fascinating insight into student life behind the walls of the High Street.

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