Skip to main content

Lesson ideas

* KS1 history: compare the clothes and toys in the picture with those of today.

* KS2 history and literacy: suggest thought bubbles and spoken words for all the characters in the painting.

* KS2 art: pose like the people in this painting. How does it feel to be each of the characters?

* KS3 drama and English: invent what happened before this scene and create a tableau. What happens after?

* KS4 PSHEcitizenship: discuss the role and nature of service in contemporary society. How have attitudes changed?

This image can be used when studying the Victorians at KS2 and with other age groups. It could form the basis of a guided discussion through a series of open questions, picking out features, themes and issues raised in the picture. Questions might include:

* Who is being accused?

* Who is accusing her?

* Who has taken his side?

* Who looks as though he is being set up to do something?

* Do you think any of the children look guilty?

* What do you think the little boy and girl at the front are learning from watching this?

* Could the accusation be true?

* How has the artist used different colours to tell you more about the people in the painting?

For a useful link to literacy, read The Lottie Project by Jacqueline Wilson (Corgi), which examines the relationships between a servant and the family she served through the eyes of a Victorian nursemaid and a modern child.

The Lottie Project could also be used in PSHE to examine issues of power and authority.

Clare Gittings is education officer at the National Portrait Gallery

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you