Girls of Beatrix's social class had to be proficient at the genteel arts, including painting and drawing. Between November 1878 and May 1883 Beatrix's parents arranged drawing lessons and enrolled her at the new National Art Training School in South Kensington to sit her Second Grade Art Student certificate. The generic student pieces in this display, including still life studies and exercises in design and perspective, are competent enough but convey a dark and listless formality that in retrospect seems to be at odds with the light humour and exuberance of her book illustrations.