Join a private guided tour of the Foundling Hospital, established by Thomas Coram in 1739 to care for babies at risk of abandonment in poverty-stricken London. Assisted greatly by the involvement of artist William Hogarth and composer George Frideric Handel, the hospital became a venue for the arts, leading to the establishment of the UK's first public art gallery. London's vibrant artistic community donated works and held benefit concerts to support the care of the children, in an early example of art supporting philanthropy.
Between 1739 and 1954, the Foundling Hospital cared for 25,000 children. The tour will start with a self-guided introduction to the gallery, housing the poignant tokens left with babies by mothers unable to care for them. There will then be a private guided tour of the museum, which opened in 2004 in the Brunswick Square building, constructed in the 1930s on the site of the original Foundling Hospital. The group will learn about the clocks and furniture donated by their makers to the hospital, as well as the collection of paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures given by Hogarth and others and the Gerald Coke Handel collection, an internationally important archive relating to Handel and his contemporaries. Attendees will also see works by contemporary artists who are involved in supporting the museum today.
After the tour, which will finish at 12.30pm, attendees will have the opportunity to listen to the lunchtime concert given by the Young Artists' Platform, beginning at 1pm and lasting for an hour.