The Foundling Museum

Exterior of 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.

Established in 1739 by philanthropist Thomas Coram, and continuing today as the children’s charity Coram, the Hospital was set up as an institution ‘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 leading artists of the day to donate work, and the composer George Frideric Handel, who gave annual benefit concerts of his Messiah. Through a dynamic programme of exhibitions and events, we celebrate their vision and the ways in which artists and children have inspired each other for over 275 years.

Discover the intriguing story behind this important London institution and the children who grew up there, alongside original period interiors, poignant artefacts and inspiring art. Pick up a unique, artist-designed souvenir in our Shop, or attend one of our many events from lunchtime concerts to free talks.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery

Opening hours

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

Admission charges

Adults: £11 with donation | £10 without donation

Concessions: £8.25 with donation | £7.50 without donation

FREE for children, Foundling Friends & National Art Pass holders

Discounts

  • International Council of Museums
  • National Trust
  • National Art Pass
  • Museums Association
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.
Detail of Thomas Rowlandson, Vauxhall, 1785 © Gerald Coke Handel Collection.

First Amongst Equals

  • 16 January 2018 — 13 January 2019 *on now

Remarkable women who have shaped contemporary British society choose objects that speak to them from the Museum’s Collection. Spanning 300 years of social history, culture and philanthropy, their selections enable visitors to see the Collection from different perspectives, make connections between the past and the present, and reflect on women’s ongoing struggle for equality. Contributors have all achieved firsts within their respective fields and include Baroness Amos of Brondesbury, Moira Cameron, Anuja Ravindra Dhir QC, Frances O’Grady, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Bishop Libby Lane, Judith Weir and Rachel Whiteread.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Museum entry:
£11* Adults, £8.25* Concessions
FREE for children, Foundling Friends & National Art Pass holders
*Ticket prices include a voluntary Gift Aid donation

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/first-amongst-equals/

Sky Marbling

Sky Marbles

  • 15 May — 23 September 2018 *on now

We display work made by children from Thomas Coram Nursery as part of an ongoing collaboration. Exploring our Collection, children from the Nursery have created colourful marbles representing skies depicted in paintings in the Museum. This project was inspired by our 2014 Artist-in-Residence Tom Railton.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adults
£11 with donation | £10 without donation
Concessions
£8.25 with donation | £7.50 without donation
FREE for children, Foundling Friends & National Art Pass holders

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/sky-marbles/

Emma Brownlow, The Christening, 1863, © Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum

Emma Brownlow: In Focus

  • 15 May — 29 July 2018 *on now

Explore in more depth the artist who is most represented in the Museum’s Collection in this special Committee Room display. Alongside Emma Brownlow’s four paintings of scenes of life at the Foundling Hospital are works on paper that showcase her practice plus a self-portrait, on public display for the very first time.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adults
£11 with donation | £10 without donation
Concessions
£8.25 with donation | £7.50 without donation
FREE for children, Foundling Friends & National Art Pass holders

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/emma-brownlow-in-focus/

Jodie Carey, Earthcasts, 2017 © Jodie Carey, courtesy Edel Assanti

Sea

  • 25 May — 2 September 2018 *on now

Commissioned by the Museum, Jodie Carey has created a series of striking works in response to the Foundling Hospital story. Displayed within the exhibition gallery and amongst the historic Collection, Carey’s monumental pieces are imbued with a sense of remembrance and emotional trace.

Drawing inspiration from the eighteenth-century fabric tokens left by mothers with their babies as a means of identification – one of the few tangible connections between mother and child – Sea is formed of hundreds of swatches of fabric that have been dipped in liquid clay and fired. These fragile white ceramic fragments cover the exhibition gallery floor. Upstairs, two monumental works cast in the earth explore ideas of memory and time. Eighteen life-size plaster sculptures crowd the Anteroom, while in the Foyer a delicate and slender bronze sculpture stands floor to ceiling.

Carey’s abstract and organic works seek to make visible the fragility of life and human relationships, to acknowledge the absent presence of the children who passed through the Foundling Hospital, and to reflect on the elemental drives at the heart of its story; love, loss, and survival.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adults
£11 with donation | £10 without donation
Concessions
£8.25 with donation | £7.50 without donation
FREE for children, Foundling Friends & National Art Pass holders

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/jodie-carey-sea/

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.
Emma Brownlow, A Foundling Returned to its Mother, © Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum

Maker Not Muse: Emma Brownlow

  • 31 May 2018 1-2pm

As part of the Foundling Museum’s 2018 celebration of the role of women in the Hospital’s history, we present a London History Day talk, introducing Emma Brownlow and her works. The Victorian artist Emma Brownlow (1832-1905) was the daughter of John Brownlow, a foundling who had been raised at the Hospital, eventually becoming its Secretary. This gave her a unique insight into the running of the organisation and she produced a series of paintings of life at the Hospital in the 1850s and 1860s, some of which were exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts. This talk includes the opportunity to see both sketches and Brownlow’s self-portrait, which have never previously been on public display. Come and discover more about this fine artist and her insights into the daily workings of the Foundling Hospital.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adults
£11 with donation | £10 without donation
Concessions
£8.25 with donation | £7.50 without donation
FREE for children, Foundling Friends & National Art Pass holders

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/maker-not-muse-brownlow/

Jodie Carey, Earthcasts, 2017 © Jodie Carey, courtesy Edel Assanti

Artist Tour: Sea

  • 3 June 2018 3-4pm

Learn more about Jodie Carey’s new commission Sea, comprising three monumental works on display in the Museum. Meet the artist and discover how she approached the commission and was inspired by the Foundling Hospital story.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adults
£11 with donation | £10 without donation
Concessions
£8.25 with donation | £7.50 without donation
FREE for children, Foundling Friends & National Art Pass holders

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/artist-tour-sea-may18/

Jodie Carey, Earthcasts, 2017 © Jodie Carey, courtesy Edel Assanti

In Conversation With Jodie Carey

  • 8 June 2018 7-9pm

Join exhibition curator, Kathleen Palmer and artist Jodie Carey in conversation and gain a deeper insight into the development of Carey’s new site-responsive commission for the Museum. Discover more about the inspiration for her works, the choices of materials and processes, and how this project fits within the context of her overall artistic practice. Includes the opportunity to view the exhibition out-of-hours.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Tickets £5, £3 concessions & Foundling Friends (includes a glass of wine)

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/conversation-jodie-carey/

Foundling Hospital textile token © Coram

Threads Of Feeling: Foundlings, Philanthropy & Textiles In 18th-Century London

  • 1 July 2018 3-4pm

Textile historian Professor John Styles, whose research underpinned our 2015 Threads of Feeling exhibition, talks about the textile tokens retained within the unique records for children admitted to the Founding Hospital. This unparalleled collection of eighteenth-century fabrics is imbued with strong emotions of love and loss, which is looked at in this talk.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adults
£11 with donation | £10 without donation
Concessions
£8.25 with donation | £7.50 without donation
FREE for children, Foundling Friends & National Art Pass holders

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/threads-of-feeling-talk/

Jodie Carey, Earthcasts, 2017 © Jodie Carey, courtesy Edel Assanti

Artist Tour : Sea

  • 2 September 2018 3pm

Learn more about Jodie Carey’s new commission Sea, comprising three monumental new works on display in the Museum. Meet the artist and discover how she approached the commission and was inspired by the Foundling Hospital story.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Adults
£11 with donation | £10 without donation
Concessions
£8.25 with donation | £7.50 without donation
FREE for children, Foundling Friends & National Art Pass holders

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/artist-tour-sea-sept18/

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

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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