The Art of the Foundling Hospital Collection

March 17th 2023, 10am – March 31st 2023, 12pm 

The William Elder Building, Berwick | £18pp

Key themes in the Foundling Hospital Collection and their relevance to the work of the Hospital.

This series of three lectures by Madeleine Ravetta explores Britain’s oldest public art collection, which was originally made up of donations from the foremost artists of the 18th Century, such as William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds and Louis-Francois Roubiliac.

Session 1- “Enlightened Self-Interest” will explore the history of the Foundling Hospital, through the portraits of governors and benefactors painted by the leading portrait artists of the 18th Century including William Hogarth, Allan Ramsay and Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Session 2- “Navigation and Husbandry” will look at paintings used to encourage and educate the foundlings into appropriate careers. Depictions of seafaring and the navy were aimed at the foundling boys, whilst moralistic paintings including any depictions of the infant Moses, often called “the First Foundling”, were used to guide the foundling girls.

Session 3 “Lambs, Babes and Fallen Women” will examine the themes of morality and immorality. This theme runs throughout the collection, from the hospital’s coat of arms designed by Hogarth, though to Hogarth’s satirical painting, The March of the Guards to Finchley. We will learn about the messages in these paintings, and their essential role on funding the creation of the Foundling Hospital, then and now.

No previous knowledge is assumed, and all are welcome. There is no need to bring your ticket, as we will have a record of your booking.


Dates & Prices


From To
Friday Friday 17/03/2023 10:00am 10:00am Friday Friday 17/03/2023 12:00pm 12:00pm