Portrait can be used as a good feed to start debate, especially about contentious areas of history or mysteries. For example, the National Portrait Gallery has used portraits of slave owners and anti-slavery activists, as well as freed slaves, to consider the issues involved in the Transatlantic Slave Trade.


The Scottish National Portrait Gallery uses portraits from the sixteenth century to open up the mystery of who killed Lord Darnley: Mary Queen of Scots, her lover, jealous nobles . . .?


Who Killed Darnley?
Working with Scottish author, Allan Burnett, pupils will explore the Reformation to Revolution gallery to find out more about this complicated time in Scottish history. The back-stabbing, the intrigue and the general unpleasantness will be the focus of this session through role play, creative writing and heated debate.



Return to ‘Themes around learning with portraiture’