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Georgian Times featured a wide gap between rich and poor and this was really visible in London. At the bottom of the social heap were the paupers They depended on handouts from the Parish to live but also several private charitable institutions sprang up in the eighteenth century to offer further forms of assistance. The Foundling Hospital was one of this place, Britain's first home for abandoned children.
Through the Art collection of the hospital, the museum presents the work of the Foundling Hospital's founder Thomas Coram, as well as the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel, both major benefactors of the institution. It also illustrates how the Foundling Hospital's charity work for children still carries on today through the child care organisation Coram.
The Foundling Hospital Collection includes works of art by Britain's most prominent eighteenth century artists: William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, Louis-Francois Roubiliac and many others. These paintings and sculptures, often donated by the artists themselves, were given in order to support this Britain's first home for abandoned children. These works effectively made the Foundling Hospital the nation's first art gallery available to the public.
The museum also lets the visitor see furniture, photographs and other items from the days when the Foundling Hospital still accepted abandoned children to be reared and educated within its walls. One of the memorable items that can be seen in the collection are the tokens (coins, a button, jewelry, a poem) which were given by mothers leaving their babies, allowing the Foundling Hospital to match a mother with her child should she ever come back to claim it. Even most of the children never saw their mothers again and the tokens are still in the care of the museum.
During your visit you'll see rooms used for different purpose and be able to feel the atmosphere from those days. - The Committee Room was the room where mothers intending to leave their babies would be interviewed for suitability. - The Picture Gallery is another original interior room where painting of the governors and hospital officials through the ages are framed on the walls. - The Court Room in is rococo style is where the Foundling Hospital’s Court of Governors used to meet. Its style and ostentation was designed to make the best possible impression on all future potential governors and donors. - The uppermost floor of the Foundling Museum houses is dedicated more specifically to the musician George Frideric Handel through the Gerald Coke Handel Collection.
Sir Joshua Reynolds was an influential eighteenth-century English painter, specialising in portraits and promoting the "Grand Style" in ... read more
Thomas Gainsborough was an English portrait and landscape painter. He was the youngest son of John Gainsborough, a weaver and, in 1740, ... read more
William Hogarth was an English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic, and editorial cartoonist who has been credited ... read more