What would Mlle Claus wear?

What jewellery would Fanny Claus adorn herself in as she sat on her balcony in her fine clothes?

epic moustache fannyOver the last couple of weeks, Kate Coker came in to help us learn how to make jewellery pieces. Kate first worked with Manet’s portrait and the Ashmolean with the BOP (Budding Oxford Parents) group, based at the Roundabout Centre (Oct / Nov 2014 – look at previous posts).

Again, she supported the young people to make original jewellery pieces for Fanny that we will be displaying in the

Kate showing us our materials

Kate showing us our materials

Manet Community exhibition.

The young people engaged with the jewellery and, once again, demonstrated their talent for picking up new skills and eye for design. Their approach to art breaks down so many barriers: their sense of humour and unique view point give us opportunities to both view art with fresh eyes and a smile.

At times, the young people have lots going on, their illnesses becoming more / less present in the sessions. However, the

jewellery making2 jewellery 3 jewellery making jewellery 4

teaching team at Highfields are extremely skilled in facilitating alternative opportunities and groups to ensure the young people’s needs are accommodated and numerous options offered. Last week the young people had various options available to them and were making jewellery, editing the project’s documentary in the recording studio, teaching each other skills for their bronze arts award and sticking pictures, writing reflective comments and generally bringing their Arts Awards folders together. What a productive 2 hours!

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If I had a choice, I would play guitar in a rock band …….

The young people at Highfield have been busy and created these thoughtful extracts from Mlle Claus’ diary (in French!).

We have had fun in our French lessons writing a creative piece of French using Manet’s painting as our stimulus. At first it wasn’t easy to think creatively and try to imagine what we don’t know about Fanny Claus when we simply look at the painting, but then we became quite mischievous and allowed ourselves to imagine that Mlle Claus might have dreams to live a life other than how she is depicted in the painting. We permitted these dreams to travel through time and to allow Fanny Claus to have modern day dreams of a shopping outing for new jeans or to play in a rock band!

One of the skills in writing in a foreign language, particularly as a new learner, is to restrict oneself to the language with which one is familiar and to full exploit what one CAN do, rather than to attempt to translate what one would like to have said if one were working on one’s mother tongue.

So the end result is two pieces of work, which allow the writers to show off the French of which they are capable, while writing in a context which was unfamiliar to them as learners of modern foreign languages.

Extract 1

Dix-Neuf Avril 1868

Aujourd’hui, je me reveillée à sept heures, comme tous les autres jours. Puis, je me suis levée. Je me suis lavée le visage dans le salle de bains, bien sûr! Je me suis habillée pendant une heure parce que Manet allait me peindre à neuf heures moins le quart.
A mon avis, la robe était démodée que j’ai dû mettre mais Manet, avec qui je m’entends bien, Il adore choisir les vêtements pour mon portrait en pieds sur le balcon.
Je déteste être assise pendant pluisiers heures parce que j’adore les sorties en plein air, il faisait froid sur le balcon car j’étais assise. Mais si je n’étais pas assise pendant pluisers heures, je ferais de l’équitation ou me promenerais avec mon frère cadet. Pêut être, je jouerais au tennis.
Mais si j’avais le choix, je voudrais jouer de la guitare dans un groupe rock ou pop parce que j’aime vraiments tous les genres de musique. Je n’ai pas le droit de jouer de la guitare parce que je suis une jeune femme victorienne.

Extract 2

Qui est Fanny Claus?

Fanny a vingt-deux ans et elle est française.
Elle a les cheveux bruns longs et épinglés, et elle a les yeux marron. Mademoiselle Claus est assez grande et mince.

La jeune femme porte une robe blanche longue, un chapeau bibi en forme de fleur rose et des souliers noirs.

Je crois que Fanny Claus est sportive et fait de l’équitation. Elle n’est pas intelligente mais Fanny Claus est riche, (grace à l’argent de Manet) et a le sens pratique.

Je voudrais faire du shopping avec elle depenser son argent et lui acheter des vêtements pratiques comme un jean, un tee-shirt et plus

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The Highfield wish you ….

A Happy Red Nose Day!

Even Manet has a red nose!

Even Manet has a red nose!


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Manet meets 21st Century


Angus Dick

What a couple of weeks we have had. The talented Angus Dick came to Highfield over the last 2 weeks to teach us how to make fantastic animations using images or our own drawings. The young people were so imaginative and creative using images and drawings of Manet, Mlle Claus but also Marilyn Monroe, Mo Farah, David Bowie and so many more! I highly recommend scrolling down to see a selection of what they produced.












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Each individual showed talent ….

Sarah Crothers, HLTA, Oxfordshire Hospital School has kindly written this post for us.

Over2015-03-05 13.33.56 the past two weeks a small group of four students have been using Manet’s painting of Mademoiselle Clause as inspiration for a music project.
At first this small group found the task of creating a song difficult, they found that trying to start at the beginning of the song and work through to end was not working. To help the group find some inspiration they used a midi board to create a basic drum beat and rhythm for the project, this is when the project turned into a rap. Taking the drum beat as a starting point the group soon became very animated, they chose to try pairing up words and phrases using each other’s ideas, this mixed with lots of laughter and some very cheesy French accents resulted in a rap with several verses and a chorus which was created in under an hour.
Throughout the rap there are references to popular culture linking this particular part of the Art’s award back to pupils’ previous work where they made canvases comparing Mademoiselle Clause to modern icons. The line’s ‘My corset is too tight, My bustle is to light’ take inspiration from Kim Kardashians tight clothing and pride in the shape of her bottom; and the repeated reference to the Eurovision song contest was inspired by the decision to include Australia in the contest this year leading to discussions around previous French entries.
The rap was finished off with the help of some musicians who came into to support another aspect of the Arts Award, they provided some violin and accordion backing music to add a sense of time and location to the rap.
Throughout the process the pupils worked together to produce a piece of work which they can all be proud of. Each individual showed talent in at least one area of the process form lyric writing to rapping, recording and mixing to finalising and publishing the rap. The group showed high levels of enthusiasm throughout the project and the atmosphere in the room was always jovial.

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Creating the ‘Fanny Rap’ by a young person at The Highfield

This is Stuart helping us produce the rap

This is Stuart helping us produce the rap

As a group we decided that it would be a good idea to turn (what we would imagine)
Mademoiselle Claus’s thoughts to be whilst she was sitting for Manet into a comedy rap.

Using the music studio facilities we entered, to begin with, a hip-hop styled drum beat onto the MIDI keyboard so that we had a tempo and rhythm. Together we conjured up some lyrics we thought would be appropriate and also that rhymed! Whilst we were doing this we also entered a bass line onto the MIDI. All in all the creation process went rather smoothly and quickly!

Our recording studio

Our recording studio

Now to record the lyrics- a young person rapped in front of the mic in a French accent. We took a couple of takes so that we could use a double track making the vocal thicker for the chorus. Once this was done the appropriate compression and other effects were added to the track.

Finally the musicians that had kindly demonstrated some interesting instruments improvised a tune over the top of the recording using a violin and an accordion. We selected samples from this and finalised the loops. I think the musicians did a terrific job- it sounded incredible for an impromptu session!

We added the finishing touch by inserting some seemingly random French words which were spoken underlying the vocal. The odd “oui” and “bon” here and there and the “Fanny Rap” was ready to hit shop stalls…….

Written by one of the young musicians

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Manet is le homme ……

Listen to the Highfield rap!



Fanny is my namefinal cropped Mmle Claus
Manet is my game
Sitting here for hours
Upon my bootie powers

My corset is too tight
My bustle is too light
Manet is le homme
Who’s gonna paint it right

Up until now
All ze paintings are precise
Up until now
All ze painting have been nice

Manet came along
After listening to this song
He made a rash decision
And made impressionism

He messed with ze pigment
To represent le figment
of his imagination
And showed it to the nation

But I’m still stuck here
Upon this balconee
Been sitting here for decades
He didn’t even thank me

When they invent the colour television
Perhaps they’ll pick this song for
Franglaise Eurovision

(lyrics by Highfield students, Violin and Accordion by Arne and Isabel)

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here she is everyone, here she is ….

here she is everyone
here she is
she’s looking over a balcony
day dreaming
feels a bit proud
a parasol

isabel and arne arne and isabel playing arne and tibetan bowl isabel tibetan bowl isabel lyre arne conducting

Last week we used music to express ourselves. Isabel and Arne (Oxford Concert Party)  brought in a wide selection of instruments from all over the world. Using the painting as inspiration, we used words and sounds to express our thoughts about the painting.
Isabel and Arne also transported us from a wet and windy Oxford to a sunny afternoon in Paris. Magical.

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…a celebrity of her time ……


Catriona, a local artist has kindly written our latest post.

Working with the young people in The Highfield Unit on the Me, Myself and Manet project was such a privilege. Having been to see the big exhibition in London a couple of years ago of Manet’s paintings, I was really excited about the prospect of doing some work with the young people which would be inspired by one of his great works. It struck me that a good way into making some artwork around the painting for the young people would be to get them to look at her as a celebrity of her time and ask them to think of a person that they admire who is in the public eye today. We looked at loads of magazines and the young people printed off images of singers and sports people who they were interested in. I was definitely showing my age as I had to ask on more than one occasion, “who is that….and what do they do?”. But I thought this in its self was quite interesting as it shows how fame and celebrity is a constantly moving and shifting thing.

Nicola Bird gave a short but very informative talk about portraiture through the ages. We then set about making double portraits of Mlle Claus and our chosen celebrities. I was so excited with the way in which The Young People set about creating their portraits; cutting out images and painting over them. In one case Mlle Claus became merged with Sid Vicious. This has to be seen to be fully appreciated! In another, the features of Marilyn Monroe hover hauntingly over the violinists face.

There was an energy in the room that I was delighted to be a part of. This was spurred on in no small way by all the staff in The Highfield who rolled up their sleeves and got on with making their own portraits alongside the young people. Also, a big thank you to Stuart who’s excellent film of the workshops shows how much fun was had by all….great sound track too! Thanks Stuart! I can’t wait to see all the pieces hanging in The Ashmolean very soon!

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Manet in 2015

The Highfield has been busy videoing the project so far. They’ve edited 5 weeks into 3 minutes. I recommend turning the volume up!

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