‘Take One Picture’ is an educational project running at National Gallery since 1995. Each year, primary schools around the UK use one painting from the collection to start discussions, and to inspire art-making sessions.
I wasn’t aware of the scheme, but was drawn to the visually-exciting display on the ground floor at National Gallery – The chosen picture was Mr and Mrs Andrews by Thomas Gainsborough (1750).
Inspired by the painting, each school picked a different theme, relating it to their local heritage, often working collaboratively with the pupils to set the agenda for the project. Techniques used were varied, and in particular I was drawn to:
-Sketches of children sitting on benches, using printmaking techniques at Velmead Junior School in Hampshire, in response to presentations on local history and how their local landscape evolved over time.
-An amazing collection of ceramic shoes by Moreton First at Moreton Hall School in Shropshire, which was inspired by Mrs Andrew’s shoes, as well as talks on shoe conservation, materials and fashion. Clay models feature bright colours and rolled-on textures.
-Sculptures made by pupils at Baring Primary School in London: they worked in pairs to create three-dimensional portraits of each other. Here the discussions were centered around the children’s varied cultural heritage, highlighting traditional textile patterns, bringing London’s rich diversity into the picture.
Each group’s response to the painting was thought-provoking and the results were really exciting to look at. What a brilliant way for young people to reflect through art-making on their own cultural heritage, family values, the communities that surround them and their relationship to nature.