People Gazing Out Of Windows


There’s a trope of children’s literature in which a character gazes out a window, first longing for adventure, then leaving to go on one. Below are some artworks and illustrations of characters looking out of windows.

These characters are mostly girls and women, though you get a few boys and men occasionally looking through windows at the adventures happening outside.

Confined though many of these characters are, there is also a class component in which kind of characters are viewing the world from the safety of their own domesticity, rather than out working all day, perhaps doing the housework for some other woman, who is gazing out of her window…

Edward Willis Redfield (1869 – 1965) The South Window, 1941
Carl Holsøe (Danish, 1863 – 1935) Mother and Child at a Window
Young Woman Gazing, 1900 Jessie Willcox Smith 1863-1935
A Children’s Garland of Songs gathered from A Child’s Garden of Verses by RL Stevenson and set to music by C. Villiers Stanford 1892 “Bed In Summer”
Prelude - The early life of Eileen Joyce C.H. Abrahall, illustrated by Anna Zinkeisen. Published by Oxford University Press 1950
Prelude – The early life of Eileen Joyce C.H. Abrahall, illustrated by Anna Zinkeisen. Published by Oxford University Press 1950
Tetyana Yablonska Evening. Old Florence, 1973
Tetyana Yablonska Evening. Old Florence, 1973
Carl Henrik Nordenberg (Swedish,1857-1928) sewing
Carl Henrik Nordenberg (Swedish,1857-1928)
Konstantin Makovsky (1839-1915) At An Open Window 1910
Vincent van Gogh Window in the Bataille Restaurant, 1887. This is an especially creepy one because it’s just a coat and a hat.
Worthington Whittredge (1820 – 1910) A Window – House on the Hudson River, 1863
A Window in St John’s Wood by Harold Knight c. 1932
Elizabeth Shippen Green (1871 – 1954) ‘The Journey’ 1903 from a Harper’s Magazine article called ‘The Little Past’, poems by Josephine Preston Peabody
Carl Frithjof Smith (1859-1917, Norwegian) Dream At The Window 1904
John White Alexander (1856-1915) was an American painter Woman Looking Right
Jessie Marion King (1875 – 1949) The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems by William-Morris. Illustrated by Jessie M. King. 1904
by Gyo Fujikawa for Escape at Bedtime from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1957
Father's Day by Shirley Hughes
Father’s Day by Shirley Hughes
Leopold Löffler (1827 – 1898, Polish) The Punishment
‘Grassroots’ Cover by Karl Uhlemann, 1975
Dear Reader,
If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick-witted; but their lives, I am sorry to say, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and this one may be the worst of them all. If you haven’t got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, a signalling device, hungry leeches, cold cucumber soup, a horrible villain, and a doll named Pretty Penny, then this book will probably fill you with despair. I will continue to record these tragic tales, for that is what I do. You, however, should decide for yourself whether you can possibly endure this miserable story.
With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket
Kenny’s Window is the first children’s book written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. It tells the story of a young boy’s quest for a garden that he sees in his dream, which involves answering seven questions given to him by a four-legged rooster in that dream. His toys and stuffed animals help him along the way. (Wikipedia)
Outside Over There Picture Book Analysis
Australian wordless picture book published 1991.
A mother and baby look through a window at a view of wilderness and sky as far as they can see. As Sam, the baby, grows, the view changes. At first, in a cleared patch of forest, a single house appears, A few years pass and there is a village in the distance. The village develops into a city.
Sam, now a young man, gets married, has a child of his own and moves to the country. Now father and baby look through a window in their new home. The view again is of a wilderness, but in a cleared patch of forest across a dirt road a prophetic sign reads, ‘House
Blocks for Sale’.
German Childs Book 1953 Vom lieben Gott und der schönen Welt looking out window
A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi

For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered with a hatchet in the courtyard of their home. Nearly catatonic with shock, Zeba is unable to account for her whereabouts at the time of his death. Her children swear their mother could not have committed such a heinous act. Kamal’s family is sure she did, and demands justice. Barely escaping a vengeful mob, Zeba is arrested and jailed.

Awaiting trial, she meets a group of women whose own misfortunes have led them to these bleak cells: eighteen-year-old Nafisa, imprisoned to protect her from an “honor killing”; twenty-five-year-old Latifa, a teen runaway who stays because it is safe shelter; twenty-year-old Mezghan, pregnant and unmarried, waiting for a court order to force her lover’s hand. Is Zeba a cold-blooded killer, these young women wonder, or has she been imprisoned, like them, for breaking some social rule? For these women, the prison is both a haven and a punishment; removed from the harsh and unforgiving world outside, they form a lively and indelible sisterhood.

For fans of Karen M. McManus and Kara Thomas comes this riveting new young adult crime thriller packed with mystery and suspense, from the acclaimed author of I Have No Secrets

Nothing ever happens on Kasia’s street. And Kasia would know, because her chronic illness keeps her stuck at home, watching the outside world from her bedroom window. So when she witnesses what looks like a kidnapping, she’s not sure whether she can believe her own eyes…

There had been a girl in the window across the street who must have seen something too. But when Kasia ventures out to find her, she is told the most shocking thing of all: There is no girl.

Header illustration by Ruth Hallock (1876 – 1945)