Object Image

The Graham Children

These are the four Graham children. Their father was Royal Apothecary to George I and George II. Thomas, in his gilded baby carriage adorned with a bird, had already died when Hogarth was working on the picture. The crossed carnations (funeral flowers) beside him are a tender reminder of death. A table-clock surmounted by a winged cherub holding an hour-glass and scythe shows the time as 1.45pm, perhaps the hour Thomas died.

Seated beneath a goldfinch in a gilded cage, Richard Robert plays a bird organ and Anna Maria starts dancing. The cat startles the goldfinch by scrambling with its claws up the back of the chair in the same way that death suddenly snatched the youngest Graham child. Henrie...

Oil on canvas
160.5 x 181.0cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2023

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