The child in this portrait wears a bodice and skirt over a farthingale frame. This was the fashion for dressing boys until they were ‘breeched’ (dressed in breeches or trousers) at the age of five or six. In his left hand he holds a bunch of flowers and a string attached to a robin. The flowers are pansies and signified innocence and transience whilst birds are thought to symbolise the human soul flying away at the moment of death.
Where to see this painting?
Compton Verney, Warwickshire, England, CV35 9HZ
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.