Display caption

These two young girls, dressed up as male kitchen servants or ‘marmitons’, are caught unawares. They appear self conscious in their new guise, as if their childhood game has been interrupted by an uninvited onlooker.

Children’s love of dressing up and pretending to be someone else can appear to confirm that certain behaviour is a ‘natural’ part of childhood, as if children were the same at all times and in all cultures. The fact that the two girls are wearing seventeenth-century costume seems to reflect this idea.

July 2004