In the extensive literature on William Hogarth’s works over the past two-and-a-half centuries, the role of the child has received relatively little attention. Yet images of children from all classes of society are everywhere in his paintings and engravings and represented in ways that challenge the conventions of child portraiture. This article is divided in three sections. Section 1 focuses on the child/teenager as the key aesthetic symbol in the different narratives of the anecdotal series. The narrative forms of the five main series are differentiated either as visual biographies, theatrical mimes, or strip cartoons. In all, the child is shown to have the significant role of representing the temporal nature of human lives as the events of the protagonists’ particular histories play out. Part 2 focuses on the new and unique representation of childhood found in Hogarth’s portraits and conversation pieces. The images of children in these works shift the emphasis, representing the transience of life through a more existential symbolism that associates childhood with change and mortality. The final section draws out the educational implications of Hogarth’s works and suggests classroom activities that demonstrate both Hogarth’s aesthetic principles and his relevance to our contemporary world.


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pp. 1-22
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