Address: Brunswick Square, London.
Opening hours: You can visit the Foundling Museum from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays. It opens an hour later during Sundays and is closed on Mondays.
Contact: Phone +44 20 7841 3600
The Foundling Museum is exactly what it sounds like. It is a museum that focuses on abandoned children. Well, it does relay the story of Britain’s very first home for these children, the Foundling Hospital. It is home to Foundling Hospital Art Collection pieces that are considered to have national importance. It also houses the Gerald Coke Handel Collection, which includes the greatest Handel memorabilia collection in the world, at least in the case of items that have been privately put together. The museum became a charitable organisation standing on its own, apart from the hospital’s efforts, in 1998. It went through refurbishments to become a state-of-the-art museum for public viewing in June 2004.
Moreover, the museum delves into the work of Thomas Coram, the hospital’s founder. It also examines the works of George Frideric Handel a composer and William Hogarth, an artist. These two are major benefactors of the Foundling Museum. The museum further goes into the Foundling Hospital’s charitable works for the children and how they continue through Coram, a child care organisation.
The Foundling Museum may have seemed very focused on the Foundling Hospital but it does feature some art pieces from some of the most reputable eighteenth century painters in Britain. Thomas Gainsborough, William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds and Louis-Francois Roubiliac are just some of them. The artists were usually the ones who donated the pieces, either paintings or sculptures, to support Britain’s home for abandoned children. In effect, the Foundling Hospital became the country’s first public art gallery.
The paintings and the sculptures are priceless but you may be able to see art works of this kind in other museums. If you want to get the most out of your Foundling Museum visit, you have to focus on some of the more unique offerings, such as photographs, furniture and other items that would remind you that the gallery, after all, once was a Foundling hospital that took in, cared for and educated abandoned children. You might also be interested to find some foundling tokens, which were handed to the babies by their mothers. These are in the forms of jewellery, buttons, coins and poems. These may have been left by their mothers who might have hopes of coming back for their children.
You can visit the Foundling Museum from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays. It opens an hour later during Sundays and is closed on Mondays.