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Take One Picture – Discover, Imagine, Explore: Children Inspired by Willem Kalf

Issued April 2013

Annenberg Court (Getty Entrance)
12 June – 22 September 2013
Admission free

Lobsters, lemons, comic strips and magic carpets take centre stage in this year’s Take One Picture display at the National Gallery.

The display is the culmination of the National Gallery’s flagship scheme for primary schools, which each year invites teachers and pupils to take inspiration from a work in the collection. For this display the focus painting is Willem Kalf’s Still Life with Drinking-Horn (about 1653). More than 46,500 children and their families were involved in the project, from schools that range in size from 678 to just 16 pupils.

The painting has triggered a variety of exciting creative responses, including digital animation, dance and opera as well as painted works and sculpture. The display features the work from 25 schools from around the UK and as far afield as Turkey, with outstanding works from an additional 30 schools encapsulated in a slide show.

Willem Kalf’s still life depicts a selection of objects including a lobster, delicate glass drinking vessels, a carpet, a half-peeled lemon and an intriguing intricate silver-mounted buffalo drinking-horn. These would have been luxurious items in the artist’s day and were all chosen because of their rich colour and texture. Children’s imaginations were sparked by stories of travel, craftsmanship and wealth, and by the colours and techniques used by the artist.

Classroom discussion around the varied textures of items in the picture led one school to devise a tactile installation to experience the objects in Kalf’s painting – where visitors plunge their hands into a box to feel rough carpet and modelling clay that mimics the lobster’s hard shell. Another school created a short comic strip using an iPad application, which explores the origin of the objects in the painting and the journey each one would have made to reach the Netherlands.

The exploration of the picture by pupils and teachers was not limited to art; investigations took place across the curriculum from history, maths and geography to IT and design.

Charlie Chamberlain, a teacher from Takeley Primary School, Essex, said:

‘Take One Picture is an absolutely joyful way to work with a class. You begin with snippets of ideas and always end up heading for an area you had not thought of at first.’

Amy, aged 10, from St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, Cheshire, exclaimed:

'I didn’t know I had so much imagination in me.’

Ali Mawle, Head of Schools at the National Gallery, said:

‘It is wonderful to see the excitement in school communities when the exploration of a single National Gallery painting has unlocked children’s confidence, creativity and talent.’

Take One Picture is generously supported by The Dorset Foundation and by The Tavolozza Foundation.

The schools represented in the 2013 display are:
Ashdell Preparatory School, South Yorkshire
Avon House Preparatory School, Essex
Bovingdon Primary Academy, Hertfordshire
Bridge and Patrixbourne Church of England Primary School, Kent
British Embassy School Ankara, Turkey
Castlebar School, London
Cherry Orchard Primary School, London
Christchurch Church of England Primary Academy, Kent
Clapham Manor Primary School, London
CofE School of the Resurrection, Manchester
Colegio Euskal Echea, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Edgware Infant and Nursery School, Middlesex
Ernehale Infant School, Nottinghamshire
Eton End School, Berkshire
Glapthorne Church of England Primary School, Northamptonshire
Glebelands Primary School, Leicestershire
Grafton Primary School, London
Gretton Primary School, Northamptonshire
Harlands Primary School, West Sussex
Kelvin Grove Primary School, London
Kender Primary School, London
Kingsleigh Primary School, Dorset
Knebworth Primary and Nursery School, Hertfordshire
Lanesend Primary School, Isle of Wight
Lingey House Primary School, Tyne and Wear
Little Hallingbury Church of England Primary School, Hertfordshire
Loughton School, Buckinghamshire
Marston Montgomery Primary School, Derbyshire
Norfolk House School, London
Oak Green School, Buckinghamshire
Olney Infant Academy, Buckinghamshire
Our Lady and St Kenelm Roman Catholic Primary School, West Midlands
Springwell Village Infant School, Tyne and Wear
St Andrew’s Church of England Primary School, Somerset
St Dunstan’s Cheam Church of England Primary School, Surrey
St Eanswythe’s Church of England Primary School, Kent
St James’s Catholic Primary School, Middlesex
St John’s Church of England Primary School, Hampshire
St John’s Church of England Primary School, Wiltshire
St Mary’s Church of England VA Primary School, Kent
St Mary’s Church of England Primary School, Runcorn, Cheshire
St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School London
St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Kent
St Peter’s Church of England Primary School, Kent
Stoke Goldington Church of England First School, Buckinghamshire
Takeley Primary School, Essex
The New School, Devon
The Portsmouth Grammar Junior School, Hampshire
Velmead Junior School, Hampshire
Vernon Park Primary and Nursery School, Cheshire
Waverley Primary School, South Yorkshire
Wells Cathedral School, Somerset
West Ewell Infant School, Surrey
Yardley Gobion Church of England Primary School, Northamptonshire
Ynystawe Primary School, Swansea

For press information please contact Lizzie Phillips: / 020 7747 2532

For public information, please quote 020 7747 2885 or

Notes to Editors

About Take One Picture

Launched in 1995, Take One Picture is the National Gallery’s scheme for primary schools. Each year the Gallery focuses on one painting from the collection to inspire cross-curricular work in primary classrooms. As part of a one-day Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course at the Gallery, teachers are given a print of a painting. The challenge is then for schools to use the image imaginatively in the classroom, both as a stimulus for artwork, and for work in more unexpected curriculum areas.

Each year a display of work produced by schools based on the painting is shown at the National Gallery, and a selection is published on the Take One Picture website. In order to be considered for the display, schools submit examples of how a whole class or school has used the picture in a cross-curricular way to the Gallery’s Education Department by a set date.

About Willem Kalf (1619–1693)

Kalf was the leading still-life painter in Holland in the mid-17th century. His mature still-life works are of a type called 'Pronkstilleven' in Dutch, meaning ‘ostentatious still life’ and referring to the display of lavish man-made objects. 'Still Life with Drinking-Horn' is an outstanding example.

The painting shows a collection of objects chosen for their magnificent colour and texture. A contemporary viewer would have recognised the objects as expensive luxury items that only the wealthy would have been able to afford. The drinking-horn, which still survives, was made of a single buffalo horn set into a silver mount. The mount features Saint Sebastian, patron saint of archers, who was bound to a tree as a target for two Roman soldiers. The horn suggests that the painting may have been commissioned by a member of the Amsterdam archers’ guild.

Dates and Opening Hours
Open to the public: 12 June – 22 September 2013
Daily 10am–6pm, Friday until 9pm