Pictures for Schools: visual education in the classroom and the art gallery

Bradbury, Natalie (2021) Pictures for Schools: visual education in the classroom and the art gallery. Paedagogica Historica . pp. 1-19. ISSN 0030-9230

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL:


This paper focuses on Pictures for Schools, an art patronage scheme established in postwar Britain by the artist and educationalist Nan Youngman (1906–1995) to sell affordable works of art to educational establishments. Highlighting the use of works of art as a pedagogical tool, Pictures for Schools is contextualised within a wider programme of visual education, which encouraged citizens to be critical observers of the places and objects which surrounded them everyday in postwar Britain. The paper explores the ways in which artworks offered children a critical education across two types of educational spaces, the classroom and the art gallery. Using material from Youngman’s archives, it visits a series of educational spaces where, in the decade leading up to the Second World War, and influenced by the educationalists Marion Richardson and Henry Morris, Youngman established the the value of the active, participatory form of art education she later promoted through Pictures for Schools. The paper then explores the ways in which Pictures for Schools worked to develop children’s skills as critical observers. At the first Pictures for Schools exhibition, held in 1947 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, children voted for their favourite exhibit. At later exhibitions, held annually until 1969, children were given questionnaires which encouraged them to look closely at the artworks. This paper argues that in doing this, Pictures for Schools aimed to develop the critical capacities of future citizens who were asked to play an active part in postwar reconstruction and society.

Repository Staff Only: item control page