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.
28th April 2021
A boy in his final year has achieved a near-perfect score in the UK Chemistry Olympiad, and once again will represent his country in the international competition.
30th March 2021
John Keats died 200 years ago of tuberculosis. He stayed in Winchester in 1819, his most productive year as a poet. While here he took regular walks in the water meadows and wrote “Ode to Autumn” after walking along the river to the Hospital of St Cross. This article looks at his time in Winchester and the disease which would eventually 'take his breath away'.
23rd November 2020
This year’s Recita was a blended affair with some of the performers reciting remotely. Nevertheless, the socially-distanced audience enjoyed a wonderful evening of stunning poetry, which ranged from the comic to the musical to the profound.
8th November 2020
A wintry Winchester was the perfect location for the boys' first introduction to bushcraft and survival skills.
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.