The Foundling Museum

The Foundling Museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, London’s first home for abandoned children, and of three major figures in British history: its campaigning founder the philanthropist Thomas Coram, the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel.  The Museum’s nationally-important collections are housed in a restored and refurbished building adjacent to the original site of the Hospital, which is now Coram Fields children’s playground near Russell Square.

As well as displays and memorabilia relating to the lives of the foundlings themselves, the Museum holds the Foundling Hospital Art Collection, a remarkable Collection of eighteenth century paintings and sculptures donated by artists, which made the Hospital England’s first public art gallery.  The Museum is also home to the Gerald Coke Handel Collection, the largest privately-owned collection of Handel memorabilia, which reflects the Hospital’s early links with the composer George Frideric Handel, who performed benefit concerts in the Hospital’s Chapel.

The children’s charity Coram continues Thomas Coram’s pioneering work with vulnerable children and provides a living link with the original mission of the Foundling Hospital.  The Museum seeks to preserve the heritage of the charity by conserving and exhibiting its historical treasures, and continuing the association with art and music through its programme of changing exhibitions, education and cultural events which complement the permanent displays.

Exhibitions and events

Handel’s Water Music

Event until 02.01.2018 17:00

Handel’s Water Music is a suite for orchestra composed for a party for King George I, held on the River Thames on 17 July 1717. The suite of twenty-two pieces so delighted the King that he requested...

Raft of the Medusa

Event until 07.01.2018 17:00

We display a series of five previously unseen sculptures by acclaimed artist Rachel Kneebone, providing a resonant counterpoint to our exhibition Basic Instincts. Rachel Kneebone is a British artist...

Basic Instincts

Event until 07.01.2018 17:00

Curated by Dr Jacqueline Riding, Basic Instincts explores Georgian attitudes to love, desire and female respectability through the radical paintings of Joseph Highmore. A highly successful artist and...


Event until 21.01.2018 17:00

Children from Somers Town and King’s Cross have crafted a brand new piece of theatre, documented in a film on display in the Introductory Gallery. Inspired by workshops at the Museum and the history...

Basic Instincts Curator Tour

Event on 26.11.2017 15:00

Dr Jacqueline Riding, curator of our exhibition Basic Instincts, leads a tour for visitors. Discover the work of painter Joseph Highmore and his controversial painting of the 1740s which challenged...

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Educational programs

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