I came to Badminton in 1985, into Year 9. I remember that when I came to look round, I joined in with a class in the Art Block. We all had to draw one of the girls who was sitting holding a parasol. I’d never done anything like that before and I thought it was brilliant. I was sold!
The art teaching at Badminton was fantastic, and the facilities meant you could try out everything, from screenprinting to batik, pottery to photography. There was so much emphasis on things beyond just sitting in a class room. We went to the theatre in London and Stratford and on a trip to look round the Houses of Parliament. I remember especially the art trip to Cornwall where we visited Barbara Hepworth’s studio and the Minack Theatre. We encountered amazing people: speakers who came to Badminton, including politicians, and, of course, some pretty inspirational Old Badmintonians. They all gave us a sense of what was possible out in the world.
Badminton made me feel pretty undaunted about going on to Oxford and then doing a Masters in Art History in London, and eventually working there in places such as the National Portrait Gallery. Extra-curricular things such as getting a certificate in speech and drama were useful in making me confident in public speaking. But my favourite memories are about the little things: hilarious break times in the Sixth Form block, and the chocolate spread at tea time!
The friends I made at Badminton, whom I’ve stayed in touch with ever since, are what I cherish most.
I am now an artist and I do some curatorial work too. You can see some of my work at www.annadoughertypaintings.co.uk, including my painting of Northcote in memory of Penelope Ellis who was such an inspirational art teacher. Prints are available!