Skip to main content
The Graham Children
William Hogarth
/

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. Henrietta, the eldest, dangles cherries, the ‘fruit of paradise’ before baby Thomas, who reaches out to grasp them. Hogarth captures the transience of childhood and of life itself.

Key facts
Artist William Hogarth
Artist dates 1697 - 1764
Full title The Graham Children
Date made 1742
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 160.5 x 181 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented by Lord Duveen through the Art Fund, 1934
Inventory number NG4756
Location in Gallery Room 34
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo