Pictures for Schools media and subject matter

At the start of my project I was given two exhibition catalogues for Pictures for Schools exhibitions which took place at the Royal Academy Diploma Gallery in 1967 and 1969. I was interested to see what types of subjects were considered to be appropriate to schools and schoolchildren and flicking through the catalogues, it struck me that a large number of the artworks appeared had titles referring to landscapes/places or still-lifes, and that certain words such as ‘garden’ or words relating to seasons came up over and over again, which I think of as being fairly conventional subject matters. It also seemed that the exhibitions were skewed towards painting, with relatively few sculptures or 3D works. On my induction training we were shown a website called Wordle which could be used to visualise the frequency of words in documents, so I decided to use it to make some illustrations showing the frequency of different subject matters and media in the 1967 Pictures for Schools exhibition, to give a sense of the type of work the scheme promoted.

Pictures for Schools, 1967 exhibition catalogue, frequency of words appearing in titles of artworks:

Pictures for schools 1967 Wordle

Pictures for Schools, 1967 exhibition catalogue, frequency of media:

1967 media

I also decided to break the subject matter down further, by medium. Oil paintings subject matter:

Oils Wordle

Drawings, watercolours and gouaches subject matter:

Drawings, watercolours, gouaches Wordle

Embroideries and collages subject matter (interestingly, there are more references to ‘abstract’ subject matters):

Embroideries and collages Wordle


Prints Wordle


Sculpture Wordle

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