The child in this portrait wears a bodice andskirt 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.
Marcus Gheeraerts A Boy aged Two 1608 © Compton Verney