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Activity Idea: Pepperrell Family (Quick Tip)

  Use the following strategies with John Singleton Copley’s Sir William Pepperrell (1746-1816) and His Family  

  •  Imagine that the brown-and-white spaniel in the painting can talk. From his point of view, give a description of his activities on one of the days this portrait was being painted. What kind of relationship does he have with the Pepperrell family? What does he think about the artist? Share your stories as a class.


  •         In small groups, create tableaux vivants of the painting. Develop the characters using a character web [link], drawing your information about these people from the visual clues in the painting. Create a written dialogue for the character assigned to you. Find costumes and create a setting that is similar to the one in the painting. Perform the tableaux for another class.


  •         Families often pass artifacts and stories about relatives from one generation to the next. Imagine that your family has inherited an object that is shown in this painting. Describe the object in detail to a friend and recount the story of the owner’s life.


  •         Define portrait and biography and discuss their similarities and differences. Using Copley’s portrait and some background information [link], write a short biography of Sir William Pepperrell or his wife. Display the biographies next to an image of the painting.


  • ·         The Loyalist Pepperrells were forced to flee New England during the American Revolution. Read Rosalyn Schanzer’s George vs. George: The Revolutionary War as Seen by Both Sides to learn more about the two sides of the Revolution. From the point of view of Sir William Pepperrell, write a statement that defends the British Crown’s right to control the American colonies.