top of page

Year 5 Art - Limners

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Learning Aims

1. Give details (including your own sketches) about the style of some notable artists, artisans and designers.

2. Show how the work of those studied was influential in society and to other artists.

3. Create original pieces that show a range of influences and styles.

Task 1

What was a limner?

In colonial America during the 17th century, there were lots of signs hung on the front of buildings. Since most people could not read, images were used for these signs. The people who made the signs had little to no formal training. As the colonists began to prosper they looked for things to brighten up their homes and many of them asked the sign painters to paint or draw portraits of family members that they could hang on the wall. These painters became known as limners. In Old English, the word limner meant someone who made images with lines.

Limners used very little shading and so their paintings looked very flat and lifeless. Often the people were painted in weird positions, expressionless with a lifeless stare for example. The children tended to look like miniature adults. Household items such as books, candles and bowls were included in the paintings. When you look at a limner painting it looks as though the lines of the painting were drawn first and then filled in with colour.

The paintings done by the limners were often talked about as simple paintings or folk paintings.

Go here to see some examples of American folk art. Can you spot the similarities? Do you think you would be able to spot the work of a limner in the future?

Task 1


Today we are going to think a bit more about lines.

Watch this 'Elements of Design Lesson 1' video and complete the project.

You can print out this poster to help you.

Download PDF • 1.52MB

Task 3


Today you are going to make a 'Line Landscape' with the Cool Beans Club.

Task 4

Complementary Colours

Today we are going to be learning about complementary colours. These are colours that look great together.

Watch 'Complementary Colours' from Art with Mrs. No.

Now it is time for some art! To help you remember what colours are complementary, I want you to complete this 'Complementary Colours Monster' activity from Art with Trista.

You can print out this poster to help you.

Colour Wheel
Download PDF • 221KB

Task 5

Complementary Colours

Now for another complementary colour activity. Watch 'Week 5 Complementary Colours' with Miss Bees Art Party.

Task 6

End of Unit Project

From these simple limner paintings, the folk art tradition developed over the next 400 years. One of the most famous pieces of folk art is called The Peaceable Kingdom. Go here to find out a bit more about this painting.

You have four days to complete your project, here are the steps:

  1. Choose one carnivorous and one herbivorous animal to sketch using the videos in the link as examples of what you could do.

  2. Just using primary colours and your colour wheel to create secondary and tertiary colours, add paint to your animal sketches.

  3. On a sheet of paper create the background of your Peaceable Kingdom. Consider what is going to be in the foreground, midground and background.

  4. Paint your background.

  5. Cut out the animals you created and stick them onto your background.

  6. Give your painting a title.

Well done, you are all finished!

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page