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Elizabeth I - The Rainbow Portriat


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#1 Stephen Drew

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 12:11 PM

I am writing a lesson for the QCA Unit on Portraits 1500 to 1750 on Elizabeth I using the Rainbow Portrait. I am using the Heinemann Early Modern World textbook that is the second in their QCA focussed series.

On page 8 is an excellent exercise with questions about the Rainbow Portrait.

I can do all of the questions with ease except Question 10:

"In her hand, Elizabeth is holding a rainbow. In the Christian story of Noah's Ark, what do you think the rainbow might symbolise? What messages was Elizabeth I trying to send?":unsure:

In my now flustered state (at not being able to do Year 8 work!) I would go for the ideas of hope and a new dawn, but ......:unsure:

So please help this frustrated and rapidly degenerating into despair teacher to do the work designed for 13 year olds!

A copy of the Rainbow Portrait can be seen by clicking on Rainbow Portrait below.

Rainbow Portrait
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

#2 Andrew Field

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 12:20 PM

Well, this is a typical textbook question - "what do you think? (when there is no direct answer)".

When using this in class I've waiting for kids to come up with suggestions and a few have been "Well, it's like when you see a rainbow - the rain is just stopping and the sun is showing through - Elizabeth is telling us she is the sun shining through the bad times that have come before".

I'm not so sure about this one, but this does fit with the idea of new hope, new dawn etc.

On the internet it says:

http://www.gospelcom...ce/words154.htm
"No matter how bleak it looks, if God is with you, there's always a rainbow on the other side."

(entitled 'Why its a load of old cobblers')
http://www.abarnett....rk.html#RAINBOW
"According to the Bible, God placed a rainbow in the sky after the flood, presumably to brighten the place up a bit, what with all the mud and dead animals etc."

Rainbows and promises
http://www.childrens...rmons/noah3.htm
"God’s sign that he would remember his promise was the rainbow. Have you ever seen a rainbow? Did you ever wonder what a rainbow was made of? It is made of light. In fact, it is made of seven colors of light. It only occurs when it rains. The light of the sun shines through the rain, causing the light to bend (or refract) and reflect off the rain. The rain acts like a prism, splitting the white light into the colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo (deep blue), and violet (purple). They always stay in the same order, because the frequency is from low to high. It always forms an arch. Does this sound like something God made? Yes, it is very orderly and dependable, just like God. Jesus is like the rainbow to us: when God sees us and our sin, he sees us through Jesus, who said "I am the light of the world." God doesn’t see our sin due to the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross."

So, I think you're on the right track!

...and here's a good bit:

http://www.scribbles...generic158.html
"The Rainbow Portrait is one of the large paintings of Elizabeth. It was painted when she was 67. You will notice that she doesn’t look 67, because the painter followed a “face pattern” created when she was much younger. The gold writing is in Latin and says: “There is no rainbow without the sun”. This is meant to suggest that the queen is as important to the happiness of the people as the sun is to the rainbow. Putting writing in paintings was popular at the time. It is called an “impresa”. "

...but ( :( )

http://www.cofc.edu/...iconography.htm
- “Rainbow” portrait painted for Robert Cecil by Gheeraerts c. 1600, employs “mask of youth”; dominant image is rainbow (symbol of peace); cloak has “eyes and ears” to represent loyal ministers; sleeve has serpent with heart pendant in mouth (showed wisdom to do right thing)

I think you should go with the inscription explanation - "No rainbow without a sun."

OK - fair enough?


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#3 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 03:15 PM

I don't have a great deal to add to Andrew's extensive research on this one except to agree with his emphasis on the translation of the Latin inscription. ("No rainbow without the sun")

The other thing you (and kids) need to bear in mind is the date of the portrait and the context in which it was painted. Also bear in mind for whom it was painted This, in itself is a very useful general point to make about the analysis of primary sources, not just paintings.

I'm not sure if year 8s would get this on their own so you would need to nudge them into being aware of Cecil's (Robert not William) concern for security (eyes and ears imagery) and of the situation re Spain by 1600= the 'light is at the end of the tunnel'. The whole message, of course, is that none of this could have been achieved without Elizabeth.

#4 Stuart

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 06:51 PM

I also don't have too much to add and can certainly not rival Andrew's research. However, there is a Special Needs activity pack, produced by John Murray as support for the Discovering the Past series. If I remember, it was based around using pictures with SEN kids and included a section on this portrait. I think it has a list of about 10-15 symbols from the painting and an explanation of each of them - but I can't remember for sure. I'll see if I can find a copy of it and, if so, what it says about the rainbow.

As an aside, what do you think of the Heinemann History Scheme book that you are using? My personal opinion is that it is an excellent idea to have a complete match for QCA, and some of the activities in it are fantastic. However, I think the level of most of the language is far too complex for Y8 kids. I know that it all depends on how you use the textbook etc. but I think the majority of the text would be totally inaccessible to most of my pupils. However, I wish this were not the case, cos I love the pictures and some of the activities. I gather there is a 'foundation' version. Has anyone seen this? Is it any good?

#5 Stephen Drew

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 06:59 PM

The access to text problem is the thing that stopped me even considering purchasing this otherwise brilliant textbook.

As you rightly say, having a complete match to the QCA scheme is brilliant, and they have brought to life some of the otherwise abstract lesson ideas in the QCA scheme.

There is a Foundation version of Book 1 - I have it here in front of me alongside the original.

It is still a good book, but to be honest I would aim to use the Foundation edition with my standard ability students. The fact that the original level of the book is so text heavy has obviously made it extremely difficult for them to cut down the Foundation level's text and still keep it a match for the lesson ideas in the original book.

I have the usual inspection copies of all the books, and use them as part of my thought process and stimulus when lesson planning.
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

#6 Stuart

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 07:28 PM

What a pity - a brilliant idea, but not realistically useable in the classroom. I wonder if they've sold many copies, or just sent out loads of inspection copies that teachers are using to help them in their lesson planning?
It makes you wonder about the authors of these books. What schools have they taught in if they think Y8 kids can cope with this level of language?

#7 Stephen Drew

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 07:33 PM

And what makes it 'worse' is that those thoughts about level of language were the first thing that I thought of when I opened the books. :(
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

#8 Stuart

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 07:49 PM

Exactly. And I bet that the majority of history teachers who looked at this book would think the same as both of us - great idea, some lovely activities ... totally unusable due to the complex language. So why couldn't the authors have spotted this?

It's silly really because, as we all know, making the language accessible is not even that difficult. I would love it (yes, I'm a Newcastle supporter!) if someone would point this out to some of these authors. They have such good ideas, find such interesting pictures and written sources, create such stimulating activities. Then they blow it all by not doing the basics well.

#9 Andrew Field

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 08:15 PM

I've bought all the inspection copies and felt exactly the same thing. The text-heavy nature of the standard books is far too difficult even for my most able Year 8s.

Stuart you are exactly right to be baffled about this - surely any advisory teacher would have pointed this out. I imagine the books were put together by the publisher with the basic premise to stick - like superglue - to the QCA units. I suspect they thought that as teachers would have to deliver the entire units then their books would cover everything.

Some of the diagrams and presentation is wonderful, but you couldn't even begin to think about using them as they are without some serious editing.


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#10 Martyn Ellis

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 09:09 PM

The rainbow is a symbol of peace. The latin inscription means that there can be no rainbow (peace) without the sun (Elizabeth).

#11 Stephen Drew

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 09:12 PM

Wow!

This is a pretty impressive set of responses.

Thanks to you all for your efforts, be they extended :D or emphatic! :D

I have completed the lesson plan and materials, and am finishing off the webpages at the moment. I will post links when it is completed.

Once again thanks for all your help on this one. :rolleyes:
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

#12 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 09:17 PM

The rainbow is a symbol of peace. The latin inscription means that there can be no rainbow (peace) without the sun (Elizabeth).

I think so too - and as pointed out earlier in the thread it's important to put the painting in the context of the time. ie of internal/external security.

#13 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 09:19 PM

I have completed the lesson plan and materials, and am finishing off the webpages at the moment. I will post links when it is completed.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what you've done, Stephen, - with "a little help from your friends" :rolleyes:

#14 Win Bradley

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 10:32 PM

I have been usig the rainbow portrait exercise for some years. The John Murray Secial Needs pupil book' based on the picture pack has a black and white version of the portrait and an exercise with captions. My materials are in school but my recollectio is thatit reflects sunshine after a storm.

For using the QCA scheme of work on Images of an Age we used the English Heritage Booklet on Using Portraits and the Heinemann books, but abandoned the scheme of work as a unit - too much emphasis on a good idea. We still use the ideas, but at relevant points in our schemes of work.The portrait of Hoitler and the Blairs with Leo still provide a good introduction to the use of portraits by Elizabeth 1.

#15 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 22 September 2002 - 10:39 PM

My materials are in school but my recollectio is thatit reflects sunshine after a storm.

I think that you probably havethe Ditchley portrait in mind here.




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