Design an individual or a set of extraordinary accessories for either a man or a woman. Indicate how they would be worn. 

Use any materials, techniques or processes (for example drawing, painting, printmaking, textiles, photography, computer-aided design, collage, montage).

Below you will find three key artworks to look at and discuss as a class.

There are then 10 examples of artworks made by children in response to this theme.


This couple are covered in accessories: bags, sandals, glasses, headwear, jewellery. They are out sightseeing for the day and must bring all the essentials.

Although this appears to be a photograph, these two are casts made from real people who never actually met one another.

The artist, Duane Hanson, made many sculptures like this. He liked to portray very ordinary people doing everyday things such as pushing a shopping trolley. He is often associated with Pop Art. When his work is shown in galleries visitors frequently think his sculptures are real people and even stop to speak to them. 

Tourists, Duane Hanson, 1970 − © Estate of Duane Hanson/VAGA, New York/DACS, London 2015

Crimean Heroes

These brave war heroes of the Crimean stare challengingly at us. Their stiff poses are partly due to the limitations of photography at that time. The process was so slow that exposures could take minutes and any movement would blur the picture. They wear the military uniform of the Royal Highlanders with pride, including headwear, belts, bags, brocade cuffs, medals and beards!

The photographer Joseph Cundall was commissioned by Queen Victoria to record these heroes. The Crimean was the first war ever to be photographed but the slow process made action shots impossible.

Crimean Heroes : William Gardner, Donald McKenzie and George Glen [Gaisgich a’ Chrimea: Uilleam Gardner, Dòmhnall MacCoinnich, agus Deòrsa Glen], Joseph Cundall, 1856

Lady Agnes Douglas, Countess of Argyll

The plain black dress provides a backdrop for the sumptuousness and lavishness of all the accessories that adorn this woman.

Lady Agnes, almost squints at us out of one eye. What kind of expression do you think the artist has captured? Aged 25 and one of 7 daughters who were known as ‘the seven pearls of Lochleven’, she strokes her beads whilst clutching a glove in her left hand. The stiff lace collar frames her face, matching the cuffs of her sleeves.

The artist Adrian Vanson was from the Netherlands but came to Edinburgh and worked as a court painter.

Lady Agnes Douglas, Countess of Argyll, about 1574 - 1607. Wife of the 7th Earl of Argyll, Adrian Vanson, 1599

Further considerations

  • Why do we have accessories?
  • Are they functional, decorative or both?
  • Can you think of examples when they are used for protection, storage or safety?
  • Can an accessory indicate power?
  • Which parts of the body do they usually adorn?
  • How are they ‘fixed’ or held in place?
  • Have they changed throughout history or are they in essence, just the same things updated?
  • How do accessories for men and women differ?
  • What can an accessory tell you about the person wearing it?
  • What kind of accessories do you have?

Curriculum for Excellence

Expressive Arts

Art and Design

I have experimented with a range of media and technologies to create images, using my understanding of their properties. EXA 3-02a

I can use and combine the visual elements and concepts to convey ideas, thoughts and feelings in expressive and design work. EXA 3-03

While working through a design process in response to a design brief, I can develop and communicate imaginative design solutions. EXA 3-06a

I can respond to the work of artists and designers by discussing my thoughts and feelings. EXA 2-07a


By using problem-solving strategies and showing creativity in a design challenge, I can plan, develop, organise and evaluate the production of items which meet needs at home or in the world of work. TCH 3-14a

I gain inspiration from natural forms, the built environment or imagination to develop a creative idea which could be realised using computer aided manufacture. TCH 3-15b


Artworks created for this theme

Calum Mitchell
Emma Rattray
Reece Crawford
Victoria Walls
Rebecca Poon
Ross Ferguson
Sarah McKenzie
Emily Greenslade
Imogen Lee
Sorcha Collins