Notes of Lessons: Picture Study, Class Ib

Notes of Lessons: Picture Study, Class Ib

[We have thought that it might be of use to our readers (in their own families) to publish from month to month during the current year, Notes of Lessons prepared by students of the House of Education for the pupils of the Practising School. We should like to say, however, that such a Lesson is never given as a tour de force, but is always an illustration or an expansion of some part of the children’s regular studies (in the Parents’ Review School), some passage in one or other of their school books.—Ed.]

Subject: Picture Talk • Group: Art • Class Ib • Age: 8 1/2 • Time: 20 minutes

By Avice M. Cox
The Parents’ Review, 1903, pp. 851-852

“The Lady of Shalott.”


I. To give them another picture of beauty to carry away in their minds.

II. To show them how the idea of a story is worked out in the composition of the picture.

III. Though in reading a poem we all form mental pictures, an artist alone is able to show us its true beauty.


Step I.—Give the picture to the children for them to examine for themselves.

Step II.—Take the picture away, and ask them questions on it, concerning the time of day, the trees, island, tower, and the general details. See if they remember the curves and lines suggested in the drawing.

Step III.—Tell them where the subject of the picture is taken from. Refer to last picture they had. Poems are often illustrated by pictures. We form pictures in our mind while listening to poetry or stories. An artist gives us the benefit of his conception of the subject by a picture. When the children have heard the story I want them to tell me the idea of beauty which the artist has taken from the poem to express in his picture, namely, one expressing mystery, wonder and awe.

Step IV.—Tell the story of the Lady of Shalott, illustrating by a few verses if required. Read the last verses to them, letting them find out what was the curse which fell on the “Fairy Lady of Shalott.” See if they can say which verse especially illustrates the picture. Let them look at the picture to find this out. Let them see how the details they had before observed fit in with the story.

Step V.—Ask the children what beautiful idea the artist has drawn out from the picture.

Step VI.—Draw out from them how the composition of the picture harmonizes with the idea of the artist.

Notice the expression of the face, the silence of night, the absence of action in the picture, so as not to destroy the idea of silent amazement and wonder. The only movement is that of the swift, quiet swallows by contrast. Notice the careless unloosing of the chain and the dreamy attitude of the figure.

Step VII.—Show how the tones of the picture harmonize with the subject. See if they can tell me from memory the relative tones of the picture. If not, let them study the picture, and notice the lights and shadows and half-tones.

Step VIII.—If time, let them fill in the masses of light and shade, in monochrome, from memory.