L'elisir d'amore Teaching Resources

Art and Design Key Stage 3

L'elisir d'amore Art and Design Key Stage 3

Lesson one

Theme/ Activity headline: Working from observation look at the work of Artists- shapes and forms of vessels

Visual elements: Line, Shape, Form, Surface

Starter activity

Look at images of bottles and vessels by the following artists or others:


Compare shapes and forms of the vessels.

  • What do you think they contain?
  • How are the properties of glass and ceramics or metal or silverware captured in the images?

Main activity

Collect and arrange a selection of bottles, vessels, glassware and containers. Or work from a secondary image or photo of bottles and containers.

Complete a series of line drawings to look at shape and form. These might be:

  • A continuous line drawing line in a fluid media e.g. pen, brush and ink where you don’t take the line off the page
  • A line drawing with your ‘other’ hand trying to capture shape and form
    A drawing in a linear media where you look at light and dark areas to show 3D form. You can use cross hatching and directional line to build up darker areas
  • A drawing with scissors- cutting out the shapes in paper in one colour and sticking them onto another background

Make a drawing in either chalk, charcoal or pastels to capture the different surfaces and shapes of 3 bottles in an arrangement. Try to include a glass surface, a ceramic cup, bottle or vase and a metal container. Think about how to show an ellipse on a 2D surface. Think about the reflective or non-reflective properties of the surfaces you are drawing.


Set up bottles and vessels in arrangements on a shelf. They might be in a line, arranged in an order or overlapping. Take a series of photos using a camera or phone. Print 2 that show the shape and the different surfaces clearly.  Fill a glass bottle/ container with coloured water. Using natural light or a spotlight, take a series of photos. Look at how the light is reflected and refracted.

National Curriculum KS3:  to use a range of techniques to record their observations in sketchbooks, journals and other media as a basis for exploring their ideas

Lesson two

Theme/ Activity headline: Look at depictions of bottles, potions and glasses and create and photograph samples

Curriculum attainment targets: Line, Shape, Design

Starter activity

Research images of bottles and antique containers for medicines and remedies. Pinterest might be good for this.

Analyse, discuss and make notes on:

  • What shapes were used?
  • What materials were used?
  • What colours were used?
  • How were poisonous and harmful medicines marked as such?
  • Were potions and remedies sold and marketed in different types of bottles?

Main activity

Look at depictions of bottles, potions and glasses and create and photograph samples.

From observation of first-hand or secondary images of medicine bottles/ remedy bottle, draw out the shape of 2 bottles using line.

Fold the paper in half lengthways, keep folded and cut out half the shape of one bottle, consider the lid, stopper or bottle top. Open and it should be symmetrical.

Can you sketch out some of the labels?

Look at the fonts and size of lettering and design of borders.


How are containers for medicines and remedies different today?

Choose a container for a beauty or health product or perfume that you might find in your bathroom or bedroom. Draw it and include the label and details. Can you find any adverts for this product?

Why have the designers and makers chosen the shape of the container and the colours?

National Curriculum KS3: to use a range of techniques to record their observations in sketchbooks, journals and other media as a basis for exploring their ideas

Lesson three

Theme/ Activity headline: Design a bottle shape for a love potion

Curriculum attainment targets: Line, Shape, Form, Design

Starter activity

In small groups research and draw out symbols for love.

Main activity

Design a bottle shape for a love potion. Draw out the shape of a bottle you design that contains a love potion.

How will the bottle convey a message that it is a love potion? Shape? Colour? Symbols? You want to make the shape alluring to the person that is going to take the potion.

Make a second drawing that incorporates colour, shape and details on the label.

This could be done in ceramics.


Create a marketing advertisement for your potion in your sketchbook. Create a heading and a strapline for your potion. Create a name. Create an ingredient list.

National Curriculum KS3: to analyse and evaluate their own work, and that of others, in order to strengthen the visual impact or applications of their work

Lesson four

Theme/ Activity headline: Design a label looking at Art Nouveau design and fonts, marbling

Curriculum attainment targets: Line, Colour, Scale, Pattern

Starter activity

Regulations of the pharmaceutical trade during the 19th and early part of the 20th Century varied.

Look to Art Nouveau design of the period.

Art Nouveau is characterized by its use of a long, sinuous, flowing organic lines and was employed in and across the arts, including design of posters, and illustration.


  • How have borders been used?
  • What is the lettering like?

Main activity

Design a label for a potion looking at Art Nouveau design and fonts.

  • Make some marbled paper samples. Consider colourways carefully for a label for your bottle of elixir.
  • Look at font styles like Art Nouveau
  • Use your marbling background and think about the shape of your label.
  • Cut your paper as necessary.
  • Work out the design in your sketchbook.
  • Draw onto the label the name of your elixir. Consider scale and legibility and spacing of letters to shape of label. Draw it out lightly, at first, in pencil. Go over it in a black pen. Try to exploit the curving lines and patterns in the marbling.
    This could be done digitally.


Make a poster for your elixir. Look at Art Nouveau designs for inspiration. What are you advertising?

National Curriculum KS3: to increase their proficiency in the handling of different materials about the history of art, craft, design and architecture, including periods, styles and major movements from ancient times up to the present day

Image credits: L’elisir d’amore, Festival 2011, photo by Bill Cooper

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