Autumn 2021

Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Frontiers and Pioneers

We linked our children’s event for September into the Gloucester History Festival theme of Frontiers and Pioneers with an event called The Worst Journey in the World.

We looked at the doomed Terra Nova expedition to the Antarctic and focused on the role of Cheltenham-born Edward Wilson’s contribution as the artist who documented this treacherous voyage. We have some of Wilson’s notebooks in our collections, but the majority of his archive is at The Wilson Gallery in Cheltenham. The ‘P’ in PLOT stands for Partnerships (we are the Partnerships, Learning and Outreach Team!) and we are grateful to The Wilson who kindly allowed us to use images from their collections and lent us some wonderful taxidermy specimens….

The taxidermy allowed the fifteen children who joined the session – including a pair of brothers from Canada – to practise drawing native British species: a rabbit, a wren and a blackbird.


Wilson honed his remarkable skill as an artist from childhood, drawing the flora and fauna he saw around him from his home at The Crippetts, near Cheltenham. He painted this blue tit when he was a young boy. The sketch of the wren is a little later.


With the help of some techniques from visiting artist Georgia Vesma, the children produced some wonderful drawings. Their ages ranged from four to 11 years old, but they all enjoyed the chance to learn some new drawing skills. Chief among these was to spend more time looking at the subject and less time looking at their own work. Georgia asked the children to create one drawing in 2 minutes, without lifting their pen or pencil from the paper. The children showed their work after each task and gave each other encouraging feedback. The final task gave the children 8 minutes to do a more detailed drawing of a rabbit, with some fabulous results.

We aim to make all the children’s events as interactive as we can, given that we are restricted to online events for the time being, and the children are asked to submit their work to us to be accessioned into our collections.

Our next event is all about toys and games through the ages. To book visit Gloucestershire Archives Events


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