In this unit children select, arrange and present objects in a still-life painting. They investigate the work of artists who have used the theme of still life in a variety of ways to convey ideas and feelings. They develop skills of observation and recording, and knowledge and understanding of colour, tone and composition.


Theodore Garman ‘Window Picture in June’ (oils) GR107 (FLOWERS AND STILL LIFE)

Theodore Garman ‘Villa Solaia’ (oils) GR114 (FLOWERS AND STILL LIFE)

These two oil paintings contrast an interior and an exterior, both of which focus on the objects observed within the scene. The interior shows the Head of Christ with Crown of Thorns (wood) (GR346) (FLOWERS AND STILL LIFE) that can be seen in the collection and the painting is photographed with the artist in ‘A Shared Vision’ (P41). The exterior shows a garden full of pots containing plants and is interesting because it shows a still life out-of-doors. Both of these pictures have lively compositions crammed with incident, patterns and bright colours. Pupils can try to emulate these by selecting, arranging and recording a large scale still-life in, for example, their bedrooms or back gardens.


Filippo de Pisis ‘Still life with Bottles’ (oil) GR183 (FLOWERS AND STILL LIFE)

Ewan Cameron ‘Still Life Study’ (watercolour) GR17 (FLOWERS AND STILL LIFE)

Othon Friesz ‘Still Life with Fruit’ (ink and watercolour) GR100 (FLOWERS AND STILL LIFE)

These three still lifes show smaller scale arrangements, selected from both natural and man made objects that are set up to consider composition, texture and regular/irregular shapes. Pupils can build these domestic scenes with a small group of objects either in class or at home – a group of bottles or a drawing of the medicine cabinet or mug with toothbrushes/toothpaste etc. The idea of collecting, arranging and displaying objects could be discussed (as in the role of museum curator) pupils could discuss (and draw) what they collect or could be encouraged to collect a variety of natural and made objects in a matchbox.

Alice Weldon ‘Cyclamen’ (pencil) GR358 (FLOWERS AND STILL LIFE)
Sally Ryan ‘Small Flower Painting’ (oils) GR216 (FLOWERS AND STILL LIFE)

These two pictures contrast because of the medium used and the concerns of the artists. The Ryan oil painting is loose and colourful creating a flowing, organic image bursting with life and colour. The Weldon pencil drawing is cool and it concentrates as much on the pattern of the carpet as on the cyclamen which is almost left blank, picked out through the detailed background.



In this unit children explore the craft tradition of making vessels and containers. They develop their own designs and build a three-dimensional form to represent a vessel or container that will hold something special that they would wish for. They consider examples by contemporary designers and ceramicists and look at work from different cultures.

The gallery provides a good resource for looking at craft objects from different cultures.


Persian ‘Turquoise Bowl’ (clay) GR315 (FLOWERS AND STILL LIFE)


Chinese ‘Conical Bowl’ (clay) GR351 (FLOWERS AND STILL LIFE)

These small-scale, simple shapes can be copied by pupils in clay with either access to a wheel or using simple coil techniques and can be used to hold money and valuables or to give as an Easter present.

Egyptian ‘Vase decorated with boat scene’ (clay) GR269

Greek ‘Vase depicting warriors in combat’ (clay) GR284 (FIGURE STUDIES)
Roman ‘Vase in shape of youth’s head’ (clay) GR314

These look at different ways of decorating the work with contemporary scenes and using observed shapes. Toby jugs (and the more recent Star Wars character mugs) have a link with the Roman head.


Ghanaian (Ashante people) ‘Kuduo box with geometric patterning’ (bronze), GR329

This uses simple zigzag patterns to create an effective decorative motif. It also helps to study the idea of containers designed for a purpose. This box was designed to keep gold dust in and therefore brings up the idea of safety and the storage of small precious items.

Pupils could be asked to list containers (illustrate from catalogues) e.g. bread bin, washing basket, to discuss the materials they are made of and what properties are needed in the design for what they will contain (e.g. waterproof).

This piece could also inspire activities for Easter.

Create your own containers by using plastic containers as moulds (e.g. ice-cream tubs) and cover with papier mache. Wet, soft toilet-tissue can be scrunched inside these tubs and will dry, shrink, come out and be reasonably firm. These can be decorated by drawing on patterns etc. and glazed with P.V.A. Coloured tissue paper can be glued on to achieve striking abstract patterns.

Research contemporary design in IKEA or Argos catalogues, Crafts Council websites.

Jean- Francois Millet ‘Going to Work’ (etching) GR169 (WORK AND LEISURE)

Find the container (basket) – presumably to carry home produce but on way to work is used as a sunshade by wearing it on her head.



In this unit children explore how stories have been represented in textiles in different times and cultures. They work together to make a two or three-dimensional work based on a familiar story, myth or legend. They investigate and use a range of materials, techniques and textile processes to create surface patterns and textures and other visual and sound effects.

Edward Burne-Jones ‘Study for Soul Attains’ (pencil) GR12 (ILLUSTRATION AND SYMBOLISM)

Burne-Jones is an excellent example of an artist and illustrator (born in Birmingham) who worked with myths, stories and legends and had his work turned into textile pieces. He can be followed up through internet links and books to research his relationship to the work of the Pre-Raphaelites and his designs produced for William Morris and his arts and crafts company.


Ben Shahn ‘Psalm 133 – Dove with Painted text’ (watercolour) GR235 (RELIGIOUS ART).

Shahn is an illustrator and painter of social realism.

I liked the idea of using text in a textile piece (perhaps based on pupil names or initials) and using simple animal shapes or books for inspiration.


French Two pages from the Book of Hours’ (watercolour) GR213 a and b (RELIGIOUS ART)


European ‘Two Embroidered Stoles’ c.16th GR344 (RELIGIOUS ART)

Italian ‘Mitre’ (copper, gilt and inlaid stones) GR348 (RELIGIOUS ART)

These three pieces could inspire study of both medieval and religious artefacts drawing inspiration from the religious themes and symbols and from rich use of colour, gold and fabrics. Pupils could stitch together their own hat or sash.


Kate Greenaway ‘Child with Parrot’ (ink and watercolour) GR133 (ILLUSTRATION AND SYMBOLISM)

Kate Greenaway ‘Child with Dog’ (ink and watercolour) GR134 (ILLUSTRATION AND SYMBOLISM)

An illustrator of Victorian children’s books she was hugely influential on children’s fashions in the 19th Century. There were traditional Victorian Fashions or the more modern Kate Greenaway style of dressing your children. There are modern spin-offs of this type of fashion with Holly Hobbie and Polly Pocket doll designs using pretty colours and patterns.


Theodore Garman ‘Stubbers Green Pool’ (pastel) GR121 (LANDSCAPE AND TOWNSCAPE)

This picture was used as inspiration for an Entitlement Box textile project that took groups of pupils to look at the local Shelfield beauty spot and produce fabric work based on silk paintings, appliqué, embroidery and weaving using natural materials (reeds woven on a twig-frame). This resource available from Walsall Education Development Centre, Manor Farm, Rushall will provide an excellent inspiration for this summer activity.

Edwin Landseer ‘Study Wayside Plants’ (oil) GR149 (FLOWERS AND STILL LIFE)

Studies of plants provide a model for observations of plant life that can be simplified into motifs for repeated patterns or can be drawn with fabric crayons onto paper and ironed onto fabric. This study of plants can also relate to the designs of William Morris and the medieval pictures (Book of Hours).

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