Fate, Hope & Charity

The Foundling Museum

25 January – 19 May 2013

Free entry with National Art Pass (standard entry charge is £7.50)

National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to over 240 venues across the UK as well as 50% off major exhibitions.

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A poignant study of motherhood in the eighteenth-century and the sacrifices made by women unable to care for their children.

Copper token, 1759

When impoverished mothers put their babies into the care of the Foundling Hospital in the eighteenth-century, they also left behind small, everyday tokens that would identify the child should the mother ever return. These little trinkets are now on display and offer a heartbreaking account of the tiny tragedies of life in Georgian England. Bits of jewellery, a playing card, a thimble and buttons were all that linked a child to its mother and each object on show offers a tender account of the people involved.

Contemporary artists, writers and musicians have been commissioned to make work in response to the museum’s collection, revealing some of the poignant histories of these abandoned babies.

Don't miss

The tragic tale of Margaret Larney, whose conviction at the Old Bailey for high treason after being caught filing a sovereign led to her infant son being taken to the Foundling Hospital after she was executed.

Also, commissions by the artist David Shrigley, known for his tragicomic missives on the state of the world. Poems by hip hop artist Charlie Dark and writings by Scottish novelist Jackie Kay.

Venue information

Opening times

Tue – Sat, 10am – 5pm
Sun, 11am – 5pm

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