Notes of Lessons: Picture Study, Class II

Notes of Lessons: Picture Study, Class II

[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 II • Time: 20 Minutes

By E. Bruce Low
The Parents’ Review, 1914, p. 700


I. To continue the series of Watts’ Pictures the children are taking in school, and to increase their interest in his works.

II. To help the children to memorize one of Watts’ works, i.e., “The Man on the White Horse.”

III. To help them to appreciate pictures, and give them a desire to study other artists.

IV. To increase their powers of imagination and observation.


Step I.—Ask the children which picture they studied last, and compare it with the one taken to-day. Tell them that Watts’ Pictures all express some idea which he wished to convey. Ask them what idea is expressed in each of these two pictures. Read them a few words which Watts said of his aim in painting. “My intention has not been so much to charm the eye as to suggest great thoughts which will appeal to the imagination and the heart, and kindle all that is best and noblest in humanity.” “I would like my work to appeal to the eye and mind as music appeals to the ear and heart. I have something that I want to say which may be useful and touch mankind, and to say it as well as I can in form and colour is my endeavour; more than that I cannot do.”

Step II.—Read the verse in Revelation vi. 2, from which Watts took his subject. Let the children look at the picture for three or four minutes. Tell them to try and find out what was Watts’ meaning in this picture.

Step III.—Tell the children to turn over their pictures and say all they have noticed in them. Ask them how they think the horse helped to express Watts’ meaning. Tell them Watts had a great love for and understanding of horses, and so often painted them in his pictures. But they were nearly always painted to express some emotion or quality.

Step IV.—Ask the children what they would see in the real picture which they do not see in the prints. The Colouring. Tell them that Watts was most remarkable for his beautiful colouring, and if they ever have an opportunity of going to see his pictures at the Tate Gallery, London, or at his house at Compton, in Surrey, they should do so. Tell them that Watts was practically self-taught, but when he was quite a young man he won a prize of £300 for one of his pictures, and with this he went to Italy to study for four years. Ask the children if they know why he would go to Italy to study art. Tell them that Italians found out a great deal about colouring, and how to use it, and also that the atmosphere in Italy is so clear and the skies so bright that the Italians were able to get most lovely effects.

Step V.—Ask the children to draw the picture from memory in charcoal.