The Graham Children is a 1742 family portrait painting by English Rococo artist William Hogarth. It is in the National Gallery in London.
Analysis of Hogarth’s The Graham Children
The Graham Children is a 1742 painting by William Hogarth that depicts the four children of Daniel Graham. Graham was an apothecary, a type of early pharmacist, to both King George II and King George III of England, as well as the Chelsea Hospital in London.
This intriguing painting was originally designed as a sort of conversation piece of his four children Thomas, Henrietta, Anna Maria, and Richard, as well as a pet bird and cat in the background.
The inclusion of the clock above baby Thomas was likely added late. It is Cupid and Time, a reference to Thomas’s death aged two while Hogarth worked on the painting. Robert on the right would grow up to continue his father’s profession.
While the Graham Children is a classic portrait, William Hogarth (1697-1764) is best known for his satirical and moralistic works. He was one of the most important artists of the 18th century and had a significant impact on the development of British art.
Hogarth’s works were characterized by his keen observation of human behavior and his ability to depict it in a humorous and often scathing way. He was particularly critical of the moral decay and corruption of British society during his time and used his art to comment on social and political issues of the day.
One of Hogarth’s most famous works is his series of paintings and engravings called A Harlot’s Progress from 1731, which tells the story of a young woman named Moll Hackabout who arrives in London and is eventually forced into prostitution. The series is a scathing critique of the exploitation of women and the moral corruption of the city.
Another important work by Hogarth is The Rake’s Progress from 1735, which tells the story of a young man named Tom Rakewell who inherits a fortune and squanders it on gambling, drinking, and debauchery. The series is a warning about the dangers of excess and the importance of personal responsibility.
William Hogarth’s The Graham Children was donated by influential British art dealer Lord Duveen to the National Gallery in London in 1934.