Armchair Gallery

How to run a creative workshop based on Veiled Vestel Virgin

Artwork by Raffaelle Monti, created in 1847

About this activity

Workshop themes

  • Italy
  • Jane Austin
  • Mythology
  • Sculpture


  • Suitable for groups
  • Suitable for one to one

Difficulty level




  • Name badges (for all participants and staff).
  • An assortment of objects and silk fabrics.


  • Go around the room and make eye contact with everyone, shake their hand and say hello.
  • Before people come into the room, place a variety of objects (differing in size and shape) under a selection of silks.
  • Start by asking people what they think is underneath the silk fabric.
  • Make a variety of guesses and then reveal each object one by one.
  • You could also ask a participant to hide a variety of objects under the silk and then ask the group to guess.




  • Look at the artwork using the Armchair Gallery app.
  • Welcome and invite the person or group to create with you and write their answers on the flip chart. Ask open-ended questions (like in the list to the right).
  • Affirm/echo all their answers - together we build a story that can have sound, movement, words - even drawings.
  • Retell the story, then invite them to add another creative element like sound, or movement.

Suggested Questions

  • What’s going on in the picture?
  • What colours do you see?
  • What do you think is underneath the fabric?
  • What do you think this is made of?
  • What do you think it would feel like?
  • What is the occasion?
  • What emotion do you think the artwork is portraying?
  • What would you name this piece of art?
  • Where do you think it belongs?

Play this video

Workshop members can watch this on their own tablet, or you can play it to the group by connecting your tablet to a TV or projector. It can also be downloaded from the Armchair Gallery website.

Interact with the artwork

At this point in the workshop participants should have a go at using the app to interact with the artwork. From the main menu, enter Chatsworth House, select Veiled Vestel Virgin and tap Interact and play.

Multi-Sensory Exploration, Part 1


  • iPad and speakers (for music).
  • Vanilla ice-cream.
  • A variety of different thin fabrics (including netting and silks).
  • A selection of paper.
  • Small pieces of marble or stone.
  • Flexible wire.
  • Fresh flowers.


  • Create a playlist on Spotify based on Italian Renaissance music. Spend time listening to the music and encourage the group to start tapping out a rhythm alongside the music. This exercise aims to build strong connections between people in the group and begins to create a context for the artwork.

Multi-Sensory Exploration, Part 2


  • Inspired by the coldness of this sculpture. Pass around some vanilla ice-cream for the group to taste.


  • Give participants a variety of thin fabrics for example silks and netting etc. The textures and qualities of the material can be explored through touch and also placed over people’s heads. The group can feel the different materials, see how others look with the different materials over their heads and how it may change people’s visual perception when you look through them.
  • Pass around pieces of paper and create a concertina fold. This will inspire conversations around shape and form.
  • Pass around any small pieces of marble (or cold stone) for your group to touch and appreciate. This is what the Veiled Vestal Virgin is made from!

Multi-Sensory Exploration, Part 3


  • Hand out pieces of flexible wire to your group and ask them to bend the wire into any shape they would like. Using the thin fabrics from the touch exploration, place these over the wire. Discuss with your group what shapes have been made.
  • If your group is engaged in this activity, you could then create a group sculpture by draping fabric over everyone’s wire sculptures, bringing them all together.


  • Hand deliver a fresh flower to every member of the group. This will depict various aspects of the sculpture (the flowers in the hair and the gift that is delivered).
  • This flower is a gift from the session that participants can keep afterwards.

Making: Alginate Cast


Conclude by passing around the various hand sculptures and guess whose hands they are. Spend time touching and feeling the hands as they passed around.

Thank everyone for attending and share a round of applause to finish.


Getting Materials

You should be able to get most of the materials mentioned in this guide at your local arts supplier.

They are also avaiable on Amazon. If you shop via Amazon Smile (using the button below - UK only), then we will recieve a donation that we can put towards our work with older people.

Other Apps

You could use these other apps to further explore digital technology in your workshop.