Culture

Hospital hero and political painter

Do you like cartoons? William Hogarth is thought to have been an early influence on what we now call cartoons. He was interested in making the world around him better and closing the gap between rich and poor. He helped to set up the Foundling Hospital, Britain’s first home for children who had no parents, where he designed the children’s uniforms and fostered children from the home.

The one and only Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was one of the world’s greatest writers. He came to London to be an actor but became famous for writing plays and poetry. One story says he had to run away from home after stealing deer, but this is probably not true.

Shakespeare’s plays were acted in a large, round, open-air theatre called the Globe, which was built in 1599. Colour coded flags were used outside the theatre to advertise the type of play to be performed – a red flag for a history play, white for a comedy play and black for a tragedy.

At the base of the stage was an area called “the pit” which held “the groundlings” – people who paid just a penny to stand and watch a performance.

A jealous writer named Robert Greene wrote rude things about a newcomer he called ‘an upstart crow’. He meant Shakespeare.

Shakespeare lived more than 400 years ago yet people still go to see his plays. Have you studied Shakespeare at school?

Please sir, can I have some more?

Charles Dickens was a famous English writer who was born in 1812. He lived through the Industrial Revolution and wrote about how life was changing for poor people.

In Victorian times there was no radio, no television, no internet and no cinema. People read lots of books and readers liked long stories. Many of Dickens’ stories came out in weekly or monthly parts – just like a TV show!

Dickens was very good at creating characters. People all over the world still enjoy his stories. You might have head of Oliver Twist, Scrooge and David Copperfield. Have you read any?

Samuel Pepys - a blogger in the 1600s.

Samuel Pepys (you say PEEPS) lived more than 300 years ago. He worked for the British government but he is famous because he wrote a diary.

Pepys started his diary when he was 27. He went on writing it until 1669. It’s full of information because Pepys was interested in everything around him. He wrote about London, his home, his wife, his friends, about great events such as the Great Fire, and about himself.

You can read his diary here!

JMW Turner liked painting a lot

Do you enjoy art lessons?

Joseph Mallord William Turner loved painting so much he produced over 20,000 of them.

Turner wanted to be an artist from when he was a little boy. He spent hours filling a sketchbook with drawings of landscapes, churches, houses, and trees. Often he’d go for 25 mile walks in the countryside, sketching what he could see. He also travelled a lot. He copied pictures from famous galleries to practice his skills and he also went to the Royal Academy of Art. He had his first picture exhibited there when he was only 16.