These activities are based on a painting in our Victorian Gallery called Ship on Fire by Alfred Montague.

Starter Activity - First Impressions

As soon as you are shown the painting for the first time, write down your initial thoughts about it. You have 20 seconds to do this.

Don’t think too long about it, just write down the first thoughts that come to you.

You don’t have to write in full sentences for this, just a list of words and phrases will do.

Share these with the class.

Starter Activity - group work

 In groups or pairs, have a go at answering the following questions:

  • How would you describe the sea in the painting? How has the artist achieved this?
  • Think of some words to describe what is happening. How can you convey the drama of the scene?
  • Make a list of all the colours you can see in the painting 
  • Which part of the painting is your eye first drawn to? Why do you think this is? How has the artist achieved this?

Plenary Activity - Creative writing

You will be given an image of the painting.

Write a paragraph describing the scene as if it is the first page in a novel.

Remember, first paragraphs  need to draw the reader in from the very first line, and make them want to keep on reading. With this in mind, you need to make your writing dramatic and compelling. 

Plenary activity - Poetry

Write a poem based on the painting. Think about how you can bring out the drama of what is happening. The words you use here will be important. Remember,  it could be a conventional poem which uses rhyming words or a free verse which doesn’t.

The choice is yours.

Plenary Activity - Art

Draw a picture of what the next scene might be.  In the painting, the sailors have abandoned the burning ship and are in the sea,  awaiting rescue. What happens next?  At the bottom of your picture, write down a description of what is happening in your picture.