Newcastle school children take charge of Edward Alexander Wadsworth painting

Children from Walkergate Primary School in Newcastle were treated to a private viewing of a masterpiece by Edward Alexander Wadsworth

Walkergate Primary School pupils with Edward Wadsworth's artwork 'Marine Set'
Walkergate Primary School pupils with Edward Wadsworth's artwork 'Marine Set'

School pupils turned curators for the day when they were placed in charge of a famous painting.

Walkergate Primary School in Newcastle was one of just 27 from across the country to be chosen to take part in a new project called Your Paintings: Masterpieces in Schools, that hopes to inspire young people to find out more about the country’s art collection.

And yesterday they were given their own private viewing of a painting called Marine Set by Edward Alexander Wadsworth, on loan for the day from the city’s Laing Art Gallery.

Other works by the English painter hang in famous galleries around the world including the Tate in London.

Experts from the gallery were also on hand to explain the background to the masterpiece and its significance.

Teachers also used the painting as the creative spark for lessons including art, dance and literacy.

Year 4 pupil Izzy Brown, said: “It’s amazing to have a painting like this in my school. When I go to an art gallery with my mum and dad they go round quite quickly, but now I have lots of time to have a look at it.

“I like the painting because it is so detailed and it looks really real.”

Marie-Therese Mayne, assistant keeper of fine and decorative arts at the Laing, said: “Edward Wadsworth was an English artist who was influenced by the surrealists.

“This painting is part of a series based at the seaside and takes different elements of the coast to create a dreamlike image.

“We thought it was a good one to bring in as there are so many different elements to talk about and the children have been so enthusiastic.”

Senior teacher Rosie Anderson said: “We had to write a bid to say why we thought our school deserved to take part in the project and we explained how committed we are here to arts and culture.

“The children have loved seeing the painting. It has been wonderful for them to see something like this for real in front of them rather than on a screen.

“When you first see it, it does not necessarily make sense, but the more you look at it and find out about it then you grow to like it more and more.”

The project, by the Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) and led by contemporary British artists Bob and Roberta Smith and John Byrne, is part of Your Paintings, an ongoing initiative to increase access to the UK’s national art collection.

The site currently shows over 200,000 oil paintings from 3,200 collection venues and can be explored further at www.bbc.co.uk/yourpaintings .

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