The Foundling Museum
40 Brunswick Square
020 7841 3600
020 7841 3601
Captain Thomas Coram lived in an age that cared little for the plight of unwanted children, who were often left to die on the streets of London. When Coram retired after a life spent as a successful ship-builder and sailor, primarily based in the New World of America, he was horrified by the spectacle of poverty on London's streets. He spent the remainder of his life striving to fulfil his grand design, which was to establish a refuge for abandoned children. In this endeavour he was assisted by his friend, the artist William Hogarth, who like Coram himself was childless. Their efforts were rewarded in 1739, when George II granted a Royal Charter for the establishment of a Foundling Hospital.
Hogarth personally contributed paintings to decorate the walls of the new building. His example inspired many other contemporary British artists to donate works to this pioneering and philanthropic institution, creating the first British art gallery, The Foundling Hospital, which is now seen as the catalyst for the Royal Academy. At that time there was little exhibition space available for artists in London and the walls of the Hospital served this purpose.
The rich and powerful were encouraged to come and view the pictures as well as the children, with the hope that they might commission works from one of the exhibiting artists and contribute to the work of the Hospital.
George Frideric Handel also supported the Hospital's charitable work by giving benefit performances of his work in the Chapel.
In the 1920's the Foundling Hospital was pulled down, but the treasures were saved and moved to 40 Brunswick Square. The Foundling Museum houses the nationally important Foundling Hospital Collection. The work with vulnerable children continues and the charity is now known as Coram. The Foundling Museum was established in 1998 as a separate but closely linked charity.
Tues to Sat, 10.00 - 17.00
Sun 11.00 - 17.00
Closed: Mon, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day, Good Friday
Children under 16: FREE
Art Fund FREE
- Museums Association
- International Council of Museums
At the Museum you can see:
* Poignant social history gallery telling the story of London's first home for abandoned children, including personal histories, artefacts, photographs and recordings;
* London's first art gallery featuring works by Hogarth, Rysbrack, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Roubiliac, Hudson, Ramsay and Wilson;
* Fine eighteenth-century, Rococo and Georgian interiors; and
* Gerald Cook Handel collection of Handel memorabilia.
Archives, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Music, Personalities, Social History
Key artists and exhibits
- London's first children's home
- Rococo interior
- Georgian interior
Sunday Afternoon Concert
Žak Ozmo director
Free with Museum admission.
Flights of Fancy
In the early seventeenth century there was a widespread belief in the magic of music, and in music's power to control human passions - now harsh, now sweet, now cheerful, and now sad - in accordance with the will of the performer. This programme features entertaining, imaginative, and uncommonly beautiful music composed with these goals in mind. Included will be striking chamber works by Biagio Marini and Tarquinio Merula, haunting vocal monodies by Claudio Monteverdi, sprightly dances by Gasparo Zanetti and Santino Garsi, inspired improvisations on seventeenth-century grounds, and much more.
Join the University of Hull Early Music ensemble for the London part of their spring tour!
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‘Music-making with flair, passion, and pizzazz!’
About the University of Hull Early Music Ensemble
The University of Hull Early Music Ensemble is a period-instrument group comprised of some of the best music students from the University's Department of Music and Drama. Now under the direction of Žak Ozmo, the University’s Director of Early Music, the ensemble is dedicated to the exploration of repertoire from the 16th-18th centuries with flair, passion, and pizzazz! The University of Hull Early Music Ensemble gives three concerts a year at off-campus venues. It has taken part in the prestigious Early Music Festivals in York, Beverley and East Riding and has presented concerts at Gilling Castle, Burton Constable Hall, Harlaxton Manor (the University of Evansville) and other historic venues. The ensemble varies in size based on its current project, occasionally numbering up to forty singers and players.
- Any age
Free with Museum entry
Children, young people and families are able to explore The Foundling Museum through Trail of the Month, audio trails, story books, creative drop-in sessions and special events. In term time, sessions are held monthly on the first Saturday 13.00-16.00, and during holidays on Tuesdays and Thursdays 10.30-12.30 and 14.00-16.00. Activities are generally suited to children aged 3-12 years.
How to obtain
Arrive early to ensure you get a place. Check the website for full details of events.