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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