The Foundling Museum

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The Foundling Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity and first public art gallery, and through a dynamic programme of events and exhibitions celebrates the ways in which artists of all disciplines have helped improve children’s lives for over 275 years.

The Foundling Hospital, which continues today as the children’s charity Coram, was established in 1739 by the philanthropist Captain Thomas Coram, as ‘a hospital for the maintenance and education of exposed and deserted young children’. Instrumental in helping Coram realise his vision were the artist, William Hogarth, who encouraged all the leading artists of the day to donate work and the composer, George Frideric Handel, who gave annual benefit concerts of the Messiah. In doing so, they created London’s first public art gallery and set the template for the way that the arts could support philanthropy. The Foundling Museum celebrates their vision and continues their work, by enabling artists, musicians and writers to work alongside vulnerable young people and cast new light on the histories we tell.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery, Heritage site

Opening hours

Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00 - 17.00
Sunday, 11.00 - 17.00
Monday closed

Admission charges

Adults: £8.25 (including voluntary 75p GiftAid donation)
Concessions: £5.50 (including voluntary 50p GiftAid donation)
Children under 16: FREE
Art Fund FREE
National Trust: Half price

Discounts

  • International Council of Museums
  • National Trust
  • National Art Pass
Getting there

Rail: Euston, St Pancras, King’s Cross (10 mins walk)

Tube: Russell Square (2 mins walk) , King’s Cross, St Pancras

Bus: 59, 68, 91, 168, 188 to Southampton Row or Russell Square

17 (not evenings), 45, 46 to Gray’s Inn Road

10, 18, 30, 73 to Euston Road; 19, 38, 55, 243 to Theobalds Road

Additional info

http://www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk/visit-us/access/

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.

Collection details

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
  • Coram
  • Hogarth
  • Rysbrack
  • Gainsborough
  • Reynolds
  • Roubiliac
  • Hudson
  • Ramsay
  • Wilson
  • Handel
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Edward Ives, Cartouche, carved wood

26 Pairs of Eyes

  • 4 June — 25 October 2015 *on now

These sestudes bring fresh perspectives to familiar objects and put those lesser-known in the spotlight.

Sestudes are displayed alongside the objects that inspired them, forming a trail of discovery through the Museum. These alternative stories for objects as diverse as the pencil that belonged to Hospital Secretary John Brownlow and George Frideric Handel’s Will, invite visitors to look at the Museum’s Collections and the Foundling Hospital’s history through 26 pairs of eyes.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adult Museum Admission: £7.50
Concessionary Museum Admission: £5.00

Website

http://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/?whats-on=26-pairs-of-eyes

Napoleonic Wars

Foundlings at War: the Napoleonic Wars

  • 16 June — 4 October 2015 *on now

The Hospital was designed to prevent waste of life and create ‘useful’ citizens. Between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries many foundling boys went directly from the institution into the military.

This display explores the rich history of the Foundling Hospital Boys’ Band. Established in 1847, for many boys it became a route into regimental bands and service in military conflicts around the world. With newly-researched archive items and instruments on display, we reveal their stories.

Download the accompanying Foundlings at War iBook, free from the iTunes store.

Two further displays The Battle of Waterloo, May – Aug 2015 and Through the Ages, Sept 2015 – Jan 2016 complete the project.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adult Museum Admission: £7.50
Concessionary Museum Admission: £5.00

Website

http://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/?whats-on=foundlings-at-war-military-bands

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
The Foundling Hospital Courtroom

Lines of Beauty

  • 4 June — 6 September 2015 *on now

From small, beautifully-modelled relief panels to the Museum’s exuberant Rococo ceiling, Lines of Beauty casts a contemporary gaze upon the creation and preservation of the Foundling Museum’s exquisite interiors, alongside Preston’s own work in the Rococo style.

One of the UK’s leading architectural sculptors, and a specialist in decorative plasterwork, Preston led the team responsible for the pioneering restoration of the eighteenth-century hand-modelled stucco ceilings at Uppark House in West Sussex, which were destroyed by fire in 1989. This experience led him to re-examine the language of eighteenth-century form and to incorporate it in his own original work.

Lines of Beauty illuminates the art of modelling in clay through objects and photographs of some of Geoffrey’s principal commissions, including the award-winning Great Fulford in Devon, and recent work which is exhibited for the first time. New, large-scale works showcase the potential of these expressive materials while demonstrating how the Rococo style is guided fundamentally by proportion and geometry.

Drawings and models illustrate the creative process from initial sketch to completed work. Different materials and techniques are explained, from traditional stucco to modern moulding and casting methods, alongside a display of the artist’s tools and materials.

The exhibition also highlights the restoration of the Foundling Hospital Court Room and its stunning plasterwork, which was donated to the Hospital by Georgian craftsman and entrepreneur William Wilton in the 1740s. The plasterwork, furniture and furnishings were saved when the Foundling Hospital building was demolished in the 1920s, before being painstakingly restored in their current site at the Museum.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adult Museum Admission: £7.50
Concessionary Museum Admission: £5.00

Website

http://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/?whats-on=lines-of-beauty

Lead image for 'The Fallen Woman'

The Fallen Woman

  • 25 September 2015 — 3 January 2016

This major exhibition focuses on the myth and reality of the ‘fallen woman’ in Victorian Britain.

In an age when sexual innocence was highly valued and sex for a respectable woman was deemed appropriate only within marriage, the loss of chastity for an unwed woman had multiple repercussions. The figure of the ‘fallen’ woman was popularly portrayed in art, literature and the media as Victorian moralists warned against the consequences of losing one’s virtue.

This exhibition draws together the work of artists including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Richard Redgrave, George Frederic Watts and Thomas Faed, who considered the subject of the fallen woman in their work and helped propel the myth. In addition, newspaper illustrations and stereoscopes demonstrate how depictions of the fallen woman in popular culture also helped define a woman’s role and limitations within society.

The exhibition also explores the written petitions of women applying to the Foundling Hospital at the time. During the early nineteenth century, London’s Foundling Hospital changed its admission process to focus on restoring respectability to the mother. Only the petitions of previously respectable women bearing their first illegitimate child were considered. A specially-commissioned sound installation by musician and composer Steve Lewinson offers a new and engaging interpretation of the Hospital’s archive and brings the women’s voices to life.

The Fallen Woman is curated by Professor Lynda Nead in collaboration with The Foundling Museum’s curatorial team.

Funded through #arthappens, Art Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Museum Admission:

Adults £8.25 (including voluntary Gift Aid donation of 75p)
Concessions £5.50 (including voluntary Gift Aid donation of 50p)
Children (up to sixteen years), Art Fund members and Foundling Friends visit FREE

The small voluntary donation enables us, thanks to Gift Aid, to reclaim the tax you pay on the whole entry fee if you are a UK tax payer. Adults £7.50, concessions £5, without donation

All exhibitions and displays are included with admission

We are a National Trust partner, entitling members to 50% off admission on presentation of a valid National Trust England membership card. Holders of a National Art Pass receive free entry.

Website

http://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/?whats-on=fallen-woman

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Family Fun

http://www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk/children.php

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.

Getting there

Rail: Euston, St Pancras, King’s Cross (10 mins walk)

Tube: Russell Square (2 mins walk) , King’s Cross, St Pancras

Bus: 59, 68, 91, 168, 188 to Southampton Row or Russell Square

17 (not evenings), 45, 46 to Gray’s Inn Road

10, 18, 30, 73 to Euston Road; 19, 38, 55, 243 to Theobalds Road

The Foundling Museum
40 Brunswick Square
London
Greater London
WC1N 1AZ
England

Website

www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk

E-mail

enquiries@foundlingmuseum.org.uk

Telephone

020 7841 3600

Fax

020 7841 3607

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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