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About this activity

This activity was originally produced by The Charterhouse in London and inspired by their painting collection.

It encourages students to reflect on the design and purpose of different types of gloves, before creating their own design.

The activity would work well as a classroom or homework activity.


Glorious gloves

These seventeenth-century paintings from The Charterhouse in London feature male figures wearing and holding gloves.

In paintings, gloves are not just about warm hands. In the past, gloves were often a symbol of wealth and importance or given as gifts of love. For example, very grand ones were sometimes given to Queen Elizabeth I by other kings and wealthy people. The cuffs were often covered with gold embroidery, jewels, fur trimmings and beautiful designs.


Glorious gloves in art

Before your students design their own glorious gloves, explore more examples by discussing the pairs featured in the following artworks. You might want to ask them the following questions:

  • What colour and shape are the gloves?
  • What do you think they are made of? Do you think they are thick or thin? What do you think they feel like?
  • What are the gloves used for? (Or are they just decorative?)
  • Do the gloves tell us anything about the person wearing them?



For each student:

  • print two copies of the first page in the document linked at the bottom of this webpage
  • scissors
  • a glue stick or PVA glue
  • whatever materials are available in class for decorating their glove that can be applied to paper

Activity: design a glorious glove

Task your students with completing the following steps. You may need to assist them with the cutting and glueing stages.

Download this printout at the bottom of the page

Download this printout at the bottom of the page

Stage 1: drawing and cutting

Students should:

  • place their hand on the printout, with their wrist at the top of the cuff, and draw around their fingers
  • place this drawing directly on top of the copy of the same printout
  • cutting both sheets at the same time, cut around the outline of their hand, leaving a bit of extra width for the glueing stage


Stage 2: designing and decorating 

To help students plan the design and decoration of their gloves you could ask them to think about the following questions:

  • What are your gloves for? Are they for a special use or purpose or just for decoration?
  • Who are your gloves for? Do you have anyone in mind who might wear them? What sort of colours and decorations would they like?

If they are stuck for inspiration, look back through the artworks featuring gloves on Art UK, browse the patterns below or have a look at more textile artworks on Art UK.

Once your students have come up with a design idea, task them with decorating the cuffs and glove backs as magnificently as they can with paints, pens, beads, jewels, shiny paper, foil or fabric scraps. 


Stage 3: assembling and wearing

  • Brush a thin line of glue all around the edges of the two glove cut-outs, glue together and then leave them to dry completely.
  • Once dry, students could take a selfie portrait of themselves displaying their glorious glove!


Extension activity: picture perfect

This extension activity involves students taking a picture wearing their glove and decorating a grand frame for this glove selfie.

For each student, print a copy of the second page in the document linked at the bottom of this webpage.

After decorating the frame, task your students with glueing it to a sheet of card – a side from a cereal box would be ideal. They can then glue a photo of themselves wearing their glove in the middle.

Download the frame printout at the bottom of the page

Download the frame printout at the bottom of the page


Learn more about The Charterhouse


More artworks from The Charterhouse

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