The Fallen Woman

Caro Howell at The Foundling Museum, London

Funded

£25,382 raised
178 funders

Funded 31 July 2015

0% funded

110% funded

The Foundling Museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, established in 1739 to care for babies at risk of abandonment. In the 18th century, the foundlings' mothers were guaranteed anonymity and their experiences were poorly recorded, so their voices are frustratingly absent in the museum. However, in the 1830s the admissions policy changed; in order to be admitted, babies had to be illegitimate and the mother previously respectable – women had to give detailed written explanations of their situation. We are currently researching these extraordinary records in our archives.

We want to bring these hidden stories to life for the first time in our autumn exhibition, The Fallen Woman (25 September 2015 to 3 January 2016). By presenting these real women’s lives alongside fictional images of 'fallen women' from the period – through paintings, newspaper illustrations and stereoscopes – we will reveal how art and popular culture mythologised the idea of the ‘fallen woman’ while also bringing to life the individual testimonies of real mothers, some who managed to get their babies into the Hospital and the many more who didn’t.

Please help us raise the money so that we can give these women a voice and shed new light on this previously unexplored area of our archives. In return for your donation, you will receive one of a number of wonderful rewards. These include postcards, limited-edition prints by Richard Wentworth and tote bags inspired by Lemn Sissay's Foundling mural, as well as the chance to dine with our director in the museum’s splendid Court Room, as a thank you for your support.

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Thank you

By Caro Howell

Thank you to everyone who donated to The Fallen Woman’s Art Happens campaign... Read more

Art is happening!

By Caro Howell

Thank you to all of our funders, who have helped us raise an incredible £24,957 towards our autumn exhibition, The Fallen Woman... Read more

Interview: Steve Lewinson, musician

By Caro Howell

Find out more about a specially commissioned sound installation – featuring actress Maxine Peake (pictured) – which will bring to life the voices of the Foundling Hospital mothers... Read more

Two exciting artworks coming to The Fallen Woman

By Caro Howell

We're excited to announce that we have secured two international loans for The Fallen Woman – works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Frederick Walker... Read more

The history of the locket

By Caro Howell

We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has donated to our campaign so far and are delighted that so many of you have chosen the locket as your reward... Read more

Interview: Professor Lynda Nead

By Caro Howell

We chat to curator Professor Lynda Nead about our forthcoming exhibition, The Fallen Woman, which we're crowdfunding – the exhibition explores the Victorian idea of the ‘fallen woman’ as mythologised by art, and as experienced by women applying to leave their babies at the Foundling Hospital... Read more

A big thank you to all our donors so far

By Caro Howell

Many thanks to everyone who has donated to 'The Fallen Woman' so far – you have enabled us to reach 12% of our fundraising target after week one... Read more

With thanks to...

Christine Riding
London

Anonymous

Caroline Butler
London

Helen Perkins
Wolverhampton

Ann-Marie Campbell
New York

Elizabeth Elmore
Norwich

Susan Loppert & Jane Caplan
London

Anonymous

Ben Garcia
San Diego

Jennifer Powell
Altrincham

Penny Baylis
MAIDENHEAD

Marion Durnin
Redhill

Anonymous

Louise Duckling
Sudbury

michele cohen
London

Anonymous

Linda Perriton
York

Linda Kemp
London

Sue Jordan
Newton Abbot

Miranda Fagandini
New Malden

Anonymous

James Close
Orpington

Cintia Bailey
Dartford

Marie De Vere
Brighton

Hannah Squire
Wolverhampton

Anonymous

SL Brickell
Bristol

Anonymous

Laura Babka
Stavanger

Ishani O'Connor
Bromley

Diana Mitchell
Walton-on-Thames

Anonymous

Madeleine Lewis
Godalming

Anonymous

grania farrow
London

Rachel Carroll
Newcastle upon Tyne

Anonymous

Anna Parisi
London

Maggie Johnston
St. Albans

Anonymous

Fiona Charman
London

Margaret Tongue
Ely

Haydn Powell
London

Nick Castell
London

Anonymous

Anonymous

Ian Wellings
Malvern

Vicki Barrass
London

Anonymous

Sue Heiser
London

Anonymous

Anonymous

Anonymous

Anne-Marie Craven
London

Anonymous

Marion McCrindle
Watford

Anonymous

Kay Jones
Liverpool

Sarah Gray
Oxford

Benedicte Kaare Fjeld
Chislehurst

Camilla Adeane
London

Anonymous

Andrew King
London

Michaela Jones
Horley

Christopher Devereux
Richmond

Rose Evans
Harpenden

Rosie Miles
Birmingham

Jacqueline Riding
London

Anonymous

Anonymous

Anonymous

Richard Allan
London

Susan Fernyhough
Tunbridge Wells

Anonymous

Anonymous

Audrey Mandela
London

Anonymous

Jason Steen
London

Ros Edsberg
London

Julie Peakman
London

Andrew McInnes
Ormskirk

Amy Tabarly
London

Janette Bright
Chelmsford

Bairbre Meade
London

Nicole Slayton
London

Anonymous

Helen Blakeman
Liverpool

juliet drysdale
brill

Anonymous

Laura Parker
London

Anonymous

Pamela Scott
Weybridge

Anonymous

Alice Violett
Colchester

Anonymous

Anonymous

Anonymous

Old Coram Association
London

KATHRYN SERATI-SHIRAZI
Witney

Catherine Rayner
London

Carol Ward
Bronx

C Garces
Wembley

Edwin Marsden
London

Anonymous

cara cooney
London

Olivia Parker
Berkhamsted

Peter Scott
Weybridge

Simon and Victoria Robey
London

Anonymous

Anonymous

Carolyn Steen
London

Maria Laughlin
London

nicholas hammond
Leatherhead

George Dovel
Lynnwood

Anne Burns
London

Carolyn Greenwood
London

Anonymous

Maureen Marlowe
London

Anonymous

Anonymous

Sonia Sanchez
London

Anonymous

Anonymous

Angela Thomas
Abingdon

Patricia Verity
London

Susan Anderson
Oxford

Anonymous

Anonymous

Anonymous

Rosemary Ritchie
Surbiton

Alexandra Seaman
Burton

Sophie Carp
Abingdon

Alex Owen
Evesham

Anonymous

Anonymous

jenny collins
Nottingham

Holly Christie
London

Elizabeth Crane
Salt Lake City

Elly Ferreira
Ilford

Anonymous

Claire Hayward
Kingston upon Thames

Tuzie Morrison
London

Anonymous

Lindsey Dear
London

Rachel Atkinson
Maidenhead

Angela Chicken
Southampton

Amy Foulds
London

Anonymous

Alexander Prem Naraian
Southampton

Cherry Sandover
Southend-on-Sea

Toni Wallace
Redhill

Lora De Felice
London

Jessica Sheetz-Nguyen
Oklahoma City

Judith Behrens
Carshalton

Anonymous

Vincent Wright
Royston

Caroline Duff
Cambridge

Louise Rice
London

Anonymous

Mark Windisch
Wembley

Edward Morgan
London

Carolyn Young
London

Helen Janecek
London

Ali Froud
Faversham

Oliver Howell
London

Anonymous

Kate Bowden
London

Sam Ratcliff
London

Anonymous

Chris Larner
London

Anonymous

Marianne Rance
Cambridge

Anonymous

Carrie Anne Duff
Cambridge

Anonymous

Sharon O'Reilly
Bromley

Anonymous

Christopher Patey
London

Caro, London

20 July 2015 - 12:27

Thank you to everyone who has left messages of support and shared their personal stories. The Foundling is home to so many stories of empathy and emotional courage, and we feel very privileged when people add to them with their own. Caro Howell, Director.

Sonia, LONDON

27 June 2015 - 10:43

Such a wonderful project. This is very dear to me as not only did I grow up around the corner from the museum and play in Coram's Fields as a child, but I have also recently discovered a foundling in my family tree, albeit from another country. I hope that the target is reached and very much look forward to seeing this.

Tuz, LONDON

24 June 2015 - 09:56

My mother was made to give her first child up for adoption in the 1930s and carried her 'secret and shame' for almost forty years. Thankfully society has changed and no longer blames the mother or stigmatises her child.

Caro, London

23 June 2015 - 17:57

Dear Angela, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. All donations of any size are very much appreciated and will help us let these women’s voices be heard, so thank you very much for your support.

Angela, SOUTHAMPTON

23 June 2015 - 11:11

The Foundling Museum was a profoundly moving place, allowing me to understand my place in history as a single parent. It is easier to engage with issues that have trickled down the generations. The Museum helps me see how many of today's attitudes have deep roots. I am grateful for the opportunity to keep my child, but would like to see remaining stigma obliterated. I think the stories must be told and I applaud you for your work. Wish I could contribute more.

Edward, LONDON

22 June 2015 - 17:26

Great museum, fantastic cause.

Caro, London

22 June 2015 - 16:53

Dear Ali, thank you so much for sharing your very touching story. Every penny counts so thank you. We do hope you will be able to come and visit the Museum and exhibition.

Ali, FAVERSHAM

22 June 2015 - 16:22

I have donated a small amount (as I can afford) to this fund as it is dear to my heart. I had to give up a baby boy to adoption in 1972. I feel I have some affinity with these women.

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