In this unit children make a self-portrait to communicate ideas about themselves.

They talk about images of children in drawings, paintings and photographs and artists’ self-portraits in order to develop ideas about how they will portray themselves. They investigate a range of drawing materials and techniques and learn how to mix and use colour in a painting.

There are only two self-portraits in the collection – the rest of the work chosen for this unit includes a selection of faces and a variety of drawing materials and techniques used to record them. These portraits obviously do not include profiles but concentrate on the sort of image one might see when looking in the mirror to compose a self-portrait.


Jacob Epstein ‘Self-Portrait’ (red chalk) GR63 (PORTRAITS)

Ask the class how they read this, what sort of impression or image is he trying to give people – positive, dashing, rebellious, arrogant, good looking? What impression would pupils like to portray?


William Makepeace Thackeray ‘Self Portrait’ (pencil) GR242 (PORTRAITS)

This is a sketchy, cartoon-like image of a handsome man looking well presented and happy. The Epstein self-portrait is the sort of image that we might produce when looking in the mirror but the Thackeray self-portrait is a profile and we might speculate on how he achieved a likeness without looking directly at himself in the mirror. The class may try to produce profiles by using more than one mirror or using a camera to photograph profiles of each other.


Theodore Garman ‘The Blue Girl’ (oils) GR115 (CHILDREN)

A lovely picture that is bright and full of pattern with lots of detail. Talk about how the person ’s character may come across from choice of clothing (e.g.-shirts showing interests) or surroundings (e.g. own bedroom) and how these can act as a frame to show off the person.

Pupils could discuss how their likes and dislikes, their possessions and their behaviour are a reflection of them and their personality and can be included in their self-portrait.

Jules Pascin ‘Girl with a Doll’ (ink/watercolour) GR180 (CHILDREN)

This sketch can be used to talk about ownership – the oldest thing they possess, any collections they have made/acquired.


Jean-Francois Millet ‘Woman Carding Wool’ (pencil) GR167 (WORK AND LEISURE) can be used to reflect on depictions of things the pupils do – some they may have to do and other things that they may choose to do. They could draw themselves involved in these activities or dressed ready for action in their football kit or with their skateboard. Millet is famous for his painting ‘The Meeting or Good day Monsieur Courbet’ which depicts him meeting the artist Courbet when out walking along the French lanes. There is a modern pastiche of this by Peter Blake ‘The Meeting or Have a nice day, Mr. Hockney ’ in which Hockney meets Blake in San Francisco with roller bladers going by. Perhaps the pupils would like to produce a painting of themselves meeting a friend or perhaps someone famous.

Henri Matisse ‘Woman with an Oriental Veil’ GR164 (PORTRAITS) can introduce the idea of clothes – the variety, favourites, dressing up (e.g. to have your portrait painted/ photographed or for a special occasion) or dressing up for fun, to act out a role for disguise. Research the work of Matisse look at the emphasis on simplified shapes, bright colours and pattern. Trace and photocopy the ‘Woman with the Oriental Veil’ and ask pupils to paint it in the style of Matisse putting pattern on the clothing in bright, loose brushstrokes and adding a colourful background. Your class could be mini-Matisses! His later work includes cut shapes of painted paper.



In this unit children investigate the qualities of a variety of natural and made materials. They learn skills for weaving and gain sensory experience of materials and an understanding of colour and texture. They learn about how textiles are used in their own and others’ lives.

Theodore Garman – ‘The Blue Girl’ (oil) GR115 (CHILDREN)

Look at and discuss the clothes, the pattern of the fabric and the lace. Discuss with class patterns on their clothes, the various materials that their clothes are made of etc. For an observation game ask class to stand up and say ‘sit down anyone wearing stripes, sit down anyone with tartan, etc. and last one standing is the winner.

Ask pupils to make picture of a person from collage by cutting and gluing fabric of various colours and patterns.


Sally Ryan ‘The Cutting Garden’ Oils GR219 (LANDSCAPE AND TOWNSCAPE)

Discuss picture of natural materials and of limited range of colours used with a wide range of tints/shades of green. Pupils could weave paper and then try to collect a range of materials of same colour e.g. fabric, paper, straw, card, ferns, rushes, grasses which would be woven on a simple loom constructed from card, bound twigs, a picture frame etc.

Investigate the dressing up clothes in the Discovery Gallery which relate to the paintings displayed (e.g. Diary of a Victorian Dandy: 1900hrs by Yinka Shonibare). Look at miniature sculptures made by Elizabeth La Moine to follow lines to discover what materials the shrunken miniatures are made from – e.g. pencil made from wooden barbeque skewers.

Activity in shoe area asking should they be included in the Leather Museum (some are made of plastic etc.)

There are Frisky Doggy Bags available to borrow during a visit to the gallery. There are six bags with group activities to encourage exploration of the sculptures of animals and birds in the Garman Ryan Collection and the materials that they are made of.

Follower of Corneille de Lyon - ‘Portrait of a man’ (oil) GR21 (PORTRAITS)

The man in this portrait wears a cap, possibly made of velvet, cloth or felt decorated with jewelled badges, feathers or a woolen decoration. Use of both materials and how they are decorated or adorned are important in fashions. Courtiers dressed to impress by showing their wealth, attracting the attention and possibly the favour of the king. Give pupils a range of fabrics, asking them to find words to describe them. Photocopy the head of this man onto the top of a piece of paper asking pupils to design an outfit for him. Use materials to make a cap or hat possibly an Easter bonnet.

Look at the leaflet ‘A Clothing Guide to the Garman Ryan Collection’ by Sheila Shreeve which you may

wish to purchase at the gallery shop. It is an interesting publication that helps consider the information that can be seen in the details of the clothing in some of the paintings found in the collection.




In this unit children develop their understanding of shape, form, texture and the sensory qualities of materials. They learn about the work of sculptors and about different kinds of sculpture, including those made of natural materials. They also learn skills for arranging materials they have collected to make a relief collage and a sculpture.

Show the children a variety of examples of sculpture, ask them to try to explain what sculpture is and what a sculptor does. Find different types of sculptures in the Garman Ryan Collection i.e. carved sculptures and modelled sculptures, cast sculptures, constructed sculptures. Look at the sculptures, make sketches, make notes (e.g. materials used, size, modelled or carved etc) and take photographs. The Garman Ryan collection offers a wonderful selection of sculptures in many different materials and cultures from all over the world. There are also contemporary constructed sculptures in the Discovery Gallery. Look at and draw ‘Beast’ by Laura Ford (Discovery Gallery) and ‘Alien’ by Yinka Shonibare (Discovery Gallery).

Your pupils can use the interactive Frisky Doggy Bag on a visit to the gallery that looks at materials used in sculpture in the animals room of the Garman Ryan Collection.

Eagle, Haida People, Queen Charlotte Islands ca.19th early 20th century, Whalebone GR. 322 (MAIN HALL)

Three seals, Inuit People, North West American. Walrus Ivory. GR. 328 (BIRDS AND ANIMALS)

Box with a crocodile head and a birds head, Latmul or Abelan people, New Guinea, ca. Early 20th century. Wood. GR. 334 (BIRDS AND ANIMALS)

Duck weight, Mesopotamia, ca. 3000-2000 BC, Bronze. GR.319 (BIRDS AND ANIMALS)

Frog, Egyptian, New Kingdom, ca. 1540-1075, serpentine (stone). GR.273 (BIRDS AND ANIMALS)

Follow up by designing and making constructed animals or monsters out of reclaimed materials (junk, cardboard boxes etc.) or brightly coloured fabrics sewn/stapled and stuffed (with glued-on details – eyes etc.) The Haida Eagle is from the Haida People who also create totem poles. Constructed sculptures can be made and fitted together to create a totem pole.

The Garman Ryan Collection offers a wonderful selection of bronze sculptures by Jacob Epstein. The process of casting can be linked to the science curriculum through the use of liquids and solids. Explore casting back at school by creating a design in plastercine and casting it with plaster of Paris, or with an impression of pupils hands or feet in soft clay, or a combination of both! Natural materials collected and pressed onto the plastercine can also be cast.

It would be useful to use this unit to look at how figures can be represented in sculptural form by introducing the largest collection of the work of Jacob Epstein, a pioneer of modern British sculpture. Pupils could be asked to consider how they would choose subject matter if they were sculpting figures – would they sculpt someone famous or make up a person, perhaps an imaginary friend or monster or would they choose family or friends. Why would they make that choice? Would they choose someone they consider interesting, beautiful, handsome, ugly, or nice?

Jacob Epstein’s work could be used to introduce the ‘Garman’ and ‘Ryan’ who set up the Garman Ryan Collection.

Jacob Epstein ‘First Portrait of Kathleen’ (bronze) GR88 (Main Hall)

This bust from 1921 is the first of seven such portraits of Kathleen Garman showing her as a young, beautiful woman. Epstein married Kathleen in1955. A bust is a head and shoulders portrait of someone, this one has been cast in bronze after being worked in clay.


Jacob Epstein ‘Sally Ryan’ (bronze) GR354 (Main Hall)

Sally was a promising young sculptor who came from a wealthy background whose grandfather had been a patron of the visual arts. Her portrait work had a lot in common with the work of Epstein. Sally introduced herself to Epstein in 1935 and this is when Kathleen first met her. At some point after Epstein’s death (1959) she had the idea of collaborating to form a collection with his widow, Kathleen Garman, in order to consolidate links with the family. They trusted each other’s judgement in buying art and often went ‘shopping’ together and, by the mid 1960s, referred to the collection as the ‘Garman Ryan’ and in 1973 found a permanent home for it in Walsall.

A resource web for art teachers using the Garman Ryan Collection and the New Art Gallery Walsall, England as a source of inspiration for the delivery of the QCA National Curriculum 2000 art schemes of work to pupils in Key Stages 1-3