Fellows Library Entry
THE FOUNDLING MUSEUM by Kit Wedd
Publication date: Unknown
Donated by: Kate Wedd
A copy of this book is available for loan.
The Foundling Museum opened in June 2004, on the site of the original Foundling Hospital.
The Museum celebrates the Hospital's unique partnership between art and charity, the moral courage and vision of its three great, early champions and the lives of the 27.000 children who passed through the hospital between 1739 and 1954.
The Foundling Hospital was Britain's first home for abandoned children. It was establishes by Royal Charter in 1739 but only after 17 years of relentless campaigning by Captain Thomas Coram, a lowly, childless shipwright. He returned from the colonies and was horrified at the common sight of unwanted babies, left to die on the streets of London.
In 1740, William Hogarth donated his great portrait of Captain Coram to the hospital. He encouraged other artists to follow his example. Thus, the Foundling Hospital also became the nation's first public art gallery. The wealthy and socially ambitious visited the Hospital, were able to commission artists and were encouraged to make charitable donations to the hospital. They could also attend concerts given by George Frideric Handel, another early governor and champion of the hospital. The hospital achieved a partnership between art and charity that was unparalleled until Live Aid in the 1980's.