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Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 1
  • Subjects: Art and design, English, Geography, History
  • Session type: Museum led
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: Museum of Liverpool
  • Free


Be inspired by Ben Johnson's 'The Liverpool Cityscape' painting and the iconic buildings of Liverpool to create a collage to take back to school.

This session can be booked Monday to Friday at 10.15am, 11.30am and 1.15pm.

Further details

model of the buildings on Liverpool's famous waterfront

© Mark McNulty

Ben Johnson was commissioned to create 'The Liverpool Cityscape' for the Capital of Culture year in 2008 and spent more than three years painting the cityscape. To prepare he visited Liverpool, found the best viewpoints, studied the architecture, talked to local experts, made drawings and took over 3,000 photographs.

This session begins in front of 'The Liverpool Cityscape' painting. Pupils are encouraged to look closely at the painting and identify which city and river the painting shows. They are asked if they recognise features within the painting including buildings. Additional questioning focuses on colours, patterns, shapes, sounds that might be heard and how pupils feel about the painting.

The session then moves to The People’s Republic gallery feature windows to appreciate the stunning views of the waterfront. Pupils are encouraged to spot some of the buildings and features they have just seen in the Liverpool Cityscape painting. There’s also an opportunity to pose in front of our life-size replica Liver Bird, which is 5.5 metres tall! 

The session finishes with a fun craft activity where pupils create an artwork inspired by a building in Liverpool to take back to school.

Curriculum links

Key Stage 1 - History

  • significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.

Key Stage 1 - Art and Design

  • use a range of materials creatively to design and make products.
  • about the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers, describing the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines, and making links to their own work.

Key Stage 1 - Human and physical geography

  • use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to: key physical features, including: beach, cliff, coast, forest, hill, mountain, sea, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, season and weather.
  • key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shop.

Key Stage 1 - English Spoken language

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers.
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge.
  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  • begin to explore Ben Johnson’s artistic process.
  • use ‘The Liverpool Cityscape’ painting to give them a sense of the size of the city.
  • understand that is a painting of Liverpool and the River Mersey.

Skills development

  • use a variety of materials to create a collage.
  • use a copy of the painting to identify buildings and features from a viewpoint in the Museum.
  • describe their feelings about the painting.
  • identify old and new buildings/shapes/patterns/sounds that might be heard and describe colours.


  • grasp that a piece of art can take years to complete and may involve more than one artist.


  • experience a sense of pride and belonging for the people and city of Liverpool.