In this unit children explore how to convey the atmosphere and story of a dream.

They explore different viewpoints in the school environment as a setting for their dream. They invent a number of characters who are photographed ‘on location’ and develop a narrative to describe the dream. They go on to make prints based on the narrative. They compare the ideas, methods and approaches used in their own and other artists’ and print makers’ work.

Pierre Puvis de Chevannes ‘Study for the Sacred Grove’ (charcoal) GR192 (ILLUSTRATION AND SYMBOLISM).

I love this drawing which shows a dreamlike, moody stillness, creating an atmosphere with floating figures in sky, using different groups in dark, sketchy charcoal. The groups of figures – what are they doing, where are they going? It’s a dream journey, figures walking and flying through a dream landscape (this could be supportive by a piece of creative writing of an imaginative metaphorical journey).

The class can take photographs of different groups posed in long landscape style along school corridor, school playground or games field. Dramas and interactions can be planned and built into image and posed using group suggestions. Other examples of the work of Puvis de Chevannes can be seen at the Barber Institute at Birmingham University.


Rene Bro ‘Landscape near Courgeron, Normandy’ (oil) GR10 (TREES) Using colour and stylised shapes (lollipop trees) transform everyday familiar things from photographic realism to a more bizarre, whimsical or odd design. This can be achieved through digital imagery e.g. by taking a tree and distort or manipulate the image so that, whilst the viewer is still aware of what it is, it has been altered and may appear strange.

Francisco de Goya ‘Grotesque Dance’ (etching) GR131 (ILLUSTRATION AND SYMBOLISM)

Explore how Goya makes the image ‘grotesque’ using the lighting and the pose. Pupils could try to recreate the pose and the dramatic lighting and photograph their own version (possibly also creating an updated contemporary dance version of the image). Pupils could also photograph or film the moving shadows created as a more abstract composition – and create drawings with threatening or unusual shadows or possibly explore lighting/film techniques of horror films.


Samuel Palmer ‘The Morning Spread upon the Mountains’ (etching) GR178 (WORK AND LEISURE)

Create a mood with lighting in space – possibly follow-up internet to find other images.


Dante Gabriel Rossetti ‘Portrait of Elizabeth Siddal’ (pencil) GR210 (PORTRAITS)

A more intimate world of fantasy with very little content – she looks as if she has just put her book down and with a dreamy expression on her face shows she has been transported into the story. Follow-up with internet searches, visits to see Rossetti in Birmingham or pupils recreating quiet, intimate photographic portraits of a friend involved in hobbies or interests. Produce cartoons based on daydreams – visualise internal feelings externally in comic strip style.


Edward Burne-Jones ‘The Nativity’ (Pastel) GR13 (ILLUSTRATION AND SYMBOLISM)

Use the smudginess of pastel, charcoal or pencil to get a soft, dreamy quality. Investigate other pictures by Burne-Jones – useful for multiple group set-ups.





In this unit children explore the design of chairs. They discuss what chairs tell us about everyday life and the way people rest, eat and relate to each other. They look at examples of designs in the past and in other cultures as inspiration for developing their own imaginative designs for a chair for a particular character or occasion.

Lucian Freud ‘Annabel’ (oils) GR97 (CHILDREN)

Discuss this painting in which the artist is looking down on his daughter who is sitting in a battered, leatherette chair. The view point, the position on the canvas and the battered character adds tension to the picture that may reflect their relationship – Freud uses decaying objects (the chair with the stuffing oozing out) which build a relationship within the pictures with the characters in a metaphorical sense.


There are several pictures that contain chairs that reflect different styles and uses of chairs in different eras e.g.:-

Rembrandt van Rijn ‘Death of the Virgin’ (etching) GR195 (RELIGIOUS ART) – has heavy wooden chairs in foreground.

Horace Mann Livens ‘Woman at a Sewing Machine (GR155) (WORK AND LEISURE) has more basic everyday bentwood chairs that might be seen today.

Cameroonian Royal Stool (wood) GR321 (FIGURE STUDIES)

This royal stool symbolised the prestige, confidence and authority and the link with royal ancestors. It is carved from a single section of timber and shows a leopard flanked by two royal attendants. The leopard was a symbol of power and leadership and closely associated with kingship. Pupils could be asked to design a chair that would contain images that would suggest their skills and interests and contain recognisable images (e.g. a pencil, a mobile phone).


Look at, draw/list examples of chairs in school, at home and compare with the range of chairs in the gallery.

These include:-

Simple benches and stools in the galleries.

Chairs in the restaurants and café including high stools for babies which were specially designed by the architects. Metal chairs designed by Richard Wentworth as part of Gallery Square striped design – weather proof – can’t be vandalised or taken away.

Old Church benches are used in the Wharf bar next to the gallery.

Purpose built seats built into units and window seats in Discovery Gallery

Analysis – What is good chair design? Are they functional (with long/short legs), are they comfortable? Criticise in terms of uses, style, comfort, materials etc. Also explore the Ikea catalogue and shop layouts.

Look at early-20th-century classics – e.g. The elegant proportions and clean, flowing lines of Mies van der Rohe’s timeless Barcelona chair. This is an example of design for public places and how great designs don’t age. The modernist architect and designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe often created furniture to reflect the architectural theme of his buildings and to complement their interiors. He made the Barcelona chair for the German Pavilion, his avant-garde modernist building that created a sensation at the 1929 Barcelona World Fair. This design is still available today and in demand by those interested in owning design classics.

designed by Richard Wentworth for the New Art Gallery

designed by Richard Wentworth






designed by Richard Wentworth

designed by Richard Wentworth



In this unit children explore how signs, symbols and metaphors can be used to communicate ideas and meanings about a journey. They produce a mixed-media work, combining drawing, painting, collage and print-making techniques. They learn about artists, craftspeople and designers who communicate their ideas through signs and symbols.

Walter Sickert ‘San Marco, Venice’ (watercolour) GR236 (LANDSCAPE AND TOWNSCAPE)

He took his sketchbook to Venice several times to produce observation drawings of famous landmarks. These were some of his most lucrative sales areas, finding a ready market amongst people who found Venice or the idea of Venice very attractive and romantic. (His other work included paintings based on Jack the Ripper, British music hall scenes and some portraits). This painting shows the use of art as a record of places visited.

Egyptian ‘Vase decorated with boat’ (clay) GR269 (FLOWERS AND STILL LIFE)

This shows ‘journeys’ used as a decorative motif which is not so much realistic but rather more symbolic. This more abstract way of showing journeys could be investigated (e.g. through Aboriginal paintings).


Sally Ryan ‘Winter afternoon, Walking home’ (pastel) GR222 (TREES)

How artists represent journeys – a quick sketch of a scene. This quality of sketchiness adds to the feeling of movement and speed. Pupils could be asked to produce short (10 second?) drawings of people moving across the room in hasty, rough outlines or one minute drawings of pupils posed ironing.


Charles Meryon ‘The Little Bridge’ (etching) GR166 (LANDSCAPE AND TOWNSCAPE)

Stanislas Lepine ‘The Canal’ (oils) GR150 (LANDSCAPE AND TOWNSCAPE)

Johan Barthold Jongkind ‘Windmills in Holland’ etching GR145 (LANDSCAPE AND TOWNSCAPE)
Theodore Garman ‘The Thames from Chelsea Embankment’ (pastel) GR110 (TREES)

These pictures show images of bridges, rivers, canals, scenes of far-away places and journeys for both consumer goods and food. These can be combined in a decorative way in various media.

The ideas of journeys for leisure (draw boats outside gallery), the journey of corn or coal, the journey into the city or countryside may be considered.


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