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

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.

The Foundling Museum

40 Brunswick Square, London, Greater London, WC1N 1AZ

020 7841 3600


Opening times

Tue – Sat, 10am – 5pm Sun, 11am – 5pm

Free entry with National Art Pass

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