Help the Foundling Museum put their first female champions back in the picture

Caro Howell by The Foundling Museum, Greater London


£38,961 raised
342 funders

Funded 5 March 2018

0% funded

194% funded

In 1739, Thomas Coram finally received a Royal Charter from the King to set up the Foundling Hospital, which took in vulnerable babies at risk of abandonment and possible death. He had been campaigning for 17 years, but it wasn’t until a group of forward-thinking women – the ‘ladies of quality & distinction’ - supported his cause that he finally succeeded. Their support helped establish the UK’s first children’s charity, saving the lives of thousands of children.

For nearly 300 years these remarkable women have remained a footnote in the Hospital’s story. In the centenary of female suffrage, we think it’s time this changed.

This autumn, we want to take down the portraits of the male governors who dominate our Picture Gallery and rehang it with paintings of the 21 ladies of quality and distinction. Portraits of these brilliant women are scattered across the UK and we need your help to raise £20,000 to bring them to the Museum so they can be reunited on the site of the Foundling Hospital they helped create.

Please help us shine a light on these forgotten women and celebrate their wonderful contribution to the Foundling Hospital story.

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Five reasons to help us put our female champions back in the picture

The reasons to donate to our campaign are many and varied - here are just a fewRead more

Interview with curator Kathleen Palmer

Discover more about our exhibition Ladies of Quality & Distinction with curator Kathleen PalmerRead more

Artist profile: Matthew the Horse

Discover more about the inspiration behind the exclusive illustration by Matthew the HorseRead more

For funders only

Thank you for 50%!

We are half way to reaching our target after just two weeksRead more

Six key facts about the 'ladies of quality and distinction'

Find out more about the ladies who helped Thomas Coram with his campaignRead more

Profile of a duchess

Discover more about Charlotte, Duchess of Somerset, the first ‘lady of quality and distinction’ to sign Thomas Coram's petitionRead more

One week to go!

We have one week left of the campaign and 37% of our target to raise – can you help us make a final push to bring all the ladies of quality together?Read more

Interview with researcher Elizabeth Einberg

We speak to Elizabeth Einberg, the researcher for our exhibition Ladies of Quality & DistinctionRead more

Ladies of Quality exceeds its goal of £20,000

We have some very exciting news – we have have exceeded our of target of £20,000!Read more

Thank you for getting us to 186%

We have been overwhelmed by your supportRead more

Rewards update

Your rewards are in production!Read more

For funders only

Rewards update

Rewards are on their way!Read more

Behind the scenes

Collections manager Alison Duke recounts a recent visit to Westminster College in Cambridge to see one of the many portraits that will make up the exhibitionRead more

For funders only

Totes ahoy!

Your reward is on the wayRead more

New research uncovered

New research for Ladies of Quality & Distinction reveals that it was not only the destitute who suffered child loss, but also those at the very pinnacle of societyRead more

Countdown to opening

As opening day is looming, we take a look at what’s been going on behind the scenesRead more

Opening day is here

Ladies of Quality & Distinction is now openRead more

Final weeks

There are only two weeks left to see our exhibition Ladies of Quality & DistinctionRead more

Farewell to the Ladies

As we say goodbye to the 21 'ladies of quality and distinction', we look back at the last few monthsRead more


5 March 2018 - 17:22

Great news about the funding!

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