Object Image

The Shrimp Girl

Hogarth certainly painted this sketch from life, and although he may never have known the girl's name, this is definitely a portrait of an individual. For at least a century before and after Hogarth painted The Shrimp Girl, most of the travelling sellers of shellfish in London were women, usually the daughters or wives of fishmongers in Billingsgate Fish Market.

Hogarth sketched a half-pint measure in the basket balanced on his shrimp girl's head. A few darker shells suggest that she also sells mussels, and perhaps cockles, as well as shrimps. She wears a dark sou'wester, a hat traditionally worn by fisherman, and a cloak, probably of oilskin, but nothing can dim the sense of life and characte...

c. 1740-5
Oil on canvas
63.5 x 52.5cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2024

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