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/

Andrea Soldi, detail of Isabella Duchess of Manchester, 1738. Whitfield-Fine-Art

Ladies of Quality & Distinction

  • 21 September 2018 — 20 January 2019 *on now

Marking 100 years of female suffrage, this landmark exhibition highlights the hidden stories of women in the history of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity. Discover portraits and stories of the 21 duchesses who in 1735, risking society’s disapproval, signed a petition to the King calling for the establishment of the institution. Displayed together for the first time, these paintings temporarily replace portraits of male governors that hang in the Museum’s Picture Gallery. Downstairs in the exhibition gallery, the lives of the remarkable women who supported the day-to-day running of the institution are brought to life.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/ladies-of-quality-distinction/

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.
Lily Cole © Flo Kohl

Lily Cole: Balls

  • 31 July — 2 December 2018 *on now

2016 Foundling Fellow Lily Cole has created a film to mark the 200th anniversary of Emily Brontë’s birth. On display in the Committee Room and also at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Balls takes as its starting point Heathcliff, the foundling character central to Wuthering Heights, and explores links between the Foundling Hospital story and the much-loved novel by Brontë. To accompany the film, we display objects from the Brontë Parsonage Museum relating to the author and her inspiration.

In partnership with the Brontë Parsonage Museum, with support from Arts Council England.

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/lily-cole-fellowship-project/

Thomas Rowlandson, detail of Vauxhall, 1785 © Gerald Coke Handel Collection

Women Of Note

  • 7 September 2018 — 20 January 2019 *on now

In the eighteenth century, music performance was always a live event, and singers could build both their reputation and that of the composer through their performances. Composers depended on the competence of the performers – in particular the soloists – to interpret their music and present it to the public.

Handel often composed with specific performers in mind, and wrote music to suit individual voices and the skills of the singer. This display brings together women for whom Handel composed, as well as those who continued to interpret and perform his music during and after his lifetime. Explore how these female singers established the composer’s music and created the legacy of his music as we know it today.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/women-of-note/

Willem Verelst, Catherine Clive, 1740, courtesy of the Garrick Club

Kitty Clive: The Creation Of A Female Celebrity

  • 21 September — 30 December 2018 *on now

Kitty Clive, born Catherine Raftor, was a star of the London stage. She sang in Handel’s first London performance of Messiah in 1743, and he created the role of Dalila for her in his oratorio Samson the same year. Clive cultivated her popular image as an actress and fought public battles in the media to achieve greater rights for theatrical performers. She also wrote and performed in several satirical sketches with feminist undertones, and published a pamphlet, The case of Mrs Clive, exposing her ill-treatment by the theatre managers.

In this in-focus display in the Handel Gallery, learn about Kitty Clive’s rise to fame from humble origins to star of the London stage.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/kitty-clive-the-creation-of-a-female-celebrity/

Unpinned © The Foundling Museum

Repinned

  • 20 November 2018 — 20 January 2019

First year students studying BA in Jewellery design at Central Saint Martins have created jewellery inspired by poignant objects in the Museum Collection and the emotions embedded in the story of the Foundling Hospital. The display can be seen throughout the Introductory Gallery and Committee Room.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/repinned/

Archive image © Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum

Publick Business: Women In The Running Of The Foundling Hospital

  • 2 December 2018 From 3pm

Join us for an informal panel discussion about women who worked tirelessly behind the scenes at the Foundling Hospital. Particularly fascinating are the female Inspectors, who administered the Hospital’s network of wet nurses in their local area, and in the early years of the Hospital even ran branches. Foundling Museum curator Kathleen Palmer will be in conversation with longstanding Foundling Hospital researchers Janette Bright, Gillian Clark, Alethea Mitchell and Yvonne Tomlinson.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/publick-business/

Andrea Soldi, detail of Isabella Duchess of Manchester, 1738. Whitfield-Fine-Art

Are We Not Formed With Passions Like Your Own?

  • 7 December 2018 From 7pm

Elizabeth Einberg, senior research fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and former curator at Tate Britain, explores the stories and paintings of the 11 ladies who galvanised Thomas Coram’s campaign to establish the Foundling Hospital in the 18th century. Discover the various ways in which the ladies presented themselves for posterity and why; and how they found opportunities to make their voices heard.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Tickets £5, £3 concessions & Foundling Friends (includes a free drink)

Website

https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/passions/

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

http://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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