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Tudor portraits (self-led)

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 2
  • Subjects: Art and design, History
  • Session type: Teacher led
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: Walker Art Gallery
  • Free


Tudor portraits is a self-led booklet, which invites schools to take a closer look at the Walker Art Gallery’s popular Tudor portraits:

  • A life size oil painting of Henry VIII
  • A miniature of Queen Elizabeth I
  • An engagement portrait of a French princess named Marguerite of Angouleme
  • Tudor knight Sir George Delves.

Further details

Tudor portrait painting of Queen Elizabeth I by Hilliard'Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I' by Nicholas Hilliard

These paintings help bring the subject of the Tudors to life, offering a visual representation of important Tudor royalty and aristocracy and an insight into Tudor culture.

The booklet allows the children to engage with each portrait, focusing upon one painting at a time, through a series of questions and small drawing activities.

The questions and activities are designed to encourage the pupils to investigate the clues and symbols the artists have used to tell us about the subjects of each portrait.  This will help the class to gain an understating of how the artists represented the sitter’s personality and how the Tudors wanted the public to perceive them.

The children are asked to consider the clothing and style represented within the paintings and to think about how fashion and culture changes.

The session also takes a look at how the paintings themselves have been made, what materials were used, the style of painting and information about the important royal artists.

Tudor Portraitswill help expand pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Tudor monarchs and life-style and will also encourage pupils to learn how to read paintings, developing their observation skills and visual literacy.

Curriculum links

Art and Design

  • produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
  • evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design
  • know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.
  • History
  • a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
  • the changing power of monarchs using case studies such as John, Anne and Victoria

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • Understand how artists use visual symbols to communicate information
  • Understand how a portrait can be used as propaganda
  • Gain further knowledge about the British Monarchs
  • Develop an understanding of the role of artists during the Tudor period


Pupils will:

  • Learn to give reasoned answers backed up by evidence
  • Develop visual literacy
  • Learn to question what they see, pulling on prior knowledge to challenge an image


Pupils will be introduced to:

  • The role of a national gallery
  • That paintings can be used for research
  • That portraits aren’t always ‘truthful’
  • The role of an artist has changed over time


Pupils will:

  • enjoy a focused visit to the gallery
  • be confident at interpreting paintings for themselves
  • see the Walker Art Gallery as an enjoyable and creative place to visit
  • gain confidence in visiting a cultural venue