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Lifelong Learning Centre

Portraits, presentations and poltergeists

Posted on Friday, 27 March 2015 at 11am
by Zoë Enstone. See more of my posts here.
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I am the module leader for The Renaissance, a module on the Arts and Humanities Foundation Year. It’s my favourite module! As part of this course, programme leader Madeleine Newman and I recently took our students to visit Temple Newsam House.

Part of Temple Newsam was built in the early sixteenth century, so we were able to get a sense of the style of the Renaissance, especially since the house includes a room that is decorated in the Renaissance style. However, our main point of interest for the visit was Temple Newsam’s collection of Renaissance portraits. We had already included a lecture and workshop on portrait analysis and it was great to be able to see our students apply these ideas to portraits within this setting.

The students did a great job of starting to consider the way in which we can look at portraits analytically and draw conclusions from style, attire, expression, etc. They were also able to find out some key facts about the paintings in the helpful guide folders in each room. My particular favourite was a portrait of Lady Arabella Stuart which has a beautiful range of colours and a fascinating costume. It also has a rather interesting background, as the subject of the portrait was fairly high up in the line of succession to the throne and was imprisoned and ultimately died in the Tower of London.

Maddy and I were also treated to a range of ghost stories by one of the museum attendants. This added to our sense of the amazing history of the house, although it did make me think twice about wandering around the place on my own…

This was one of several trips that we’ve organised as part of the Arts and Humanities Foundation Year – I can’t wait for our next Renaissance outing to Special Collections in the University Library!

Categories: Arts and Humanities