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Pupils Inspired by Portraits from the Past

The aim of this AOB activity is to give students a chance to see and handle objects from the past and use them to inspire a short piece of creative writing. This term pupils are visiting the Ashmolean Museum and have been issued with note books in which to sketch and generate ideas.

On the first trip pupils handled a 3,000 year old pot for make-up from Egypt, a Roman bath artefact and also studied the lantern Guy Fawkes used when he was caught trying to blow up parliament. 

In the next visit to the museum guided by Helen Ward, the Deputy Head of Education, the group studied Gainsborough’s larger-than-life portrait of John Drummond. By asking questions about the subject’s posture, gaze, dress, the setting used and the purpose of the image, pupils ‘interrogated the picture’ to finally create a ‘backstory’ for the man. It turned out that the character invention was very similar to that of the real man himself!

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