A view of the Foundling Hospital Chapel


The Foundling Hospital was established in 1739 by Thomas Coram, a shipwright and sailor, in reponse to the numbers of abandoned children on the streets of London. Little welfare existed for these 'foundlings' or their mothers who, due to poverty or society's strong disapproval of illegitimacy, were unable to care for them. Coram's charity provided the children with accomodation, food and clothes, religious instruction and education. It was funded by philanthropic individuals, including members of royalty and the nobility.

This print, created in 1774, depicts children within the Foundling Hospital's chapel. All children were baptised when they entered the charity, and religious instruction formed a core element of their care.

Full title:
To Sir CHARLES WHITWORTH Knt Member of Parliament; Vice President of the SOCIETY for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, & Commerce; Tresurer of the FOUNDLING HOSPITAL; &c. &c. &c.
7 January 1774, London
Print / Image
John Sanders
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

Related articles

Prints and drawings at the British Museum and British Library

Article by:
Felicity Myrone
Antiquarianism, Transforming topography

Felicity Myrone explores how prints and drawings are generally encountered in museum and library collections, and how this affects their meaning and status.

Foundlings, orphans and unmarried mothers

Article by:
Ruth Richardson
Childhood and children's literature, London, Poverty and the working classes

Ruth Richardson explores the world of poverty, high mortality, prejudice and charity that influenced the creation of Oliver Twist.

Related collection items

Related people

Related works

Tom Jones

Created by: Henry Fielding

Tom Jones is a picaresque story that chronicles the humorous escapades, romances and redemption of its roguish ...

Oliver Twist

Created by: Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens’s (1812-1870) second novel, originally published in serial parts 1837-39, and as a three ...