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Talking Pictures Week 38: Tulips

Mainie Jellett, Tulips

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This pencil sketch is by an Irish artist called Mainie Jellett from Dublin. Jellett received painting lessons from the age of 11. She is mostly known for her ‘non-representational’ art as she uses shapes of block colour in her paintings. Many of her abstract compositions can be found in the Crawford Gallery.


This sketch is a very simple drawing of some tulips. Can you see any tulips in your garden? If not, your local park might have some. They can be found in red, pink, yellow or white. They are quite common in Ireland now, but can you think of a country where they are extremely popular?

The tulip craze started in the Netherlands with Tulip Mania. In the 1600s the Dutch fell head over heels for tulips, which had been recently introduced to Europe. In the Netherlands, some single tulip bulbs could be sold for 10 times the annual salary of a skilled craftsperson. Huge areas of land were given to growing these brightly coloured flowers. By 1636, the tulip was the fourth biggest Dutch export after gin, herrings and cheese. The market shortly collapsed and the value of tulips decreased but they are now the national flower of the Netherlands.


Native flowers

Each country has its own native plants and animals. These are the things that grow and thrive on the natural environment of that country.

Tulips originate from the Tian Shan mountains, a range bordering China and Kyrgyzstan. Tian Shan translates as Mountains of Heaven. Can you imagine the tulip flowers spread across the mountainside? I bet their vivid colour stands out against the snowy tops.

Tulips are popular in Ireland, but they do not grow here in the wild. Can you think of any flowers that you see on your way to school in the hedgerows or the grass? The most common of these are likely native to Ireland.

Have a guess at the names of these native Irish flowers. If you are having difficulty, ask someone who likes to garden and they might help you out!

Native Flowers
Holding tulips

Making flowers

Now that we are a bit more informed about tulips, let’s make some of our own. These are very easy to make! You will need an old egg carton, paints and a wooden chopstick or wooden skewer.

First, take the egg carton apart so you have six possible tulips. Next, paint the tulips in whatever vibrant colours you want.

Painting Tulips

Once the paint is dry, skewer the cardboard so your tulip has a stalk. Then you're finished! You have a dazzling tulip of your own.

Tulip with stick

These tulips make great companions for other plants, in your home or in the garden!

Tulips by the window

Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

Talking Pictures: Tulips was devised by Annie Forrester

Please share:

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