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The Foundling Hospital, London
Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Foundling Hospital, London
Dated on tablet: 1746
Oil on canvas
56 x 56 cm diameter
22 x 22 in. diameter
BN 86
P18
The view is of the Foundling Hospital, Bloomsbury, as seen from surrounding fields.
Manchester 1857 (149); London 1925 (16); London, 25 Park Lane, 1938 (29); London Tate Gallery, Manners and Morals, 1988 (170); YCBA and Kensington Palace, London, 2017 Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the modern World (25.04)
Presented to the Foundling Hospital by the artist in 1746, when he was elected Governor; first recorded there 1751.
Unsigned; no inscription
Pale pink/orange ground. On cleaning by Clare Wilkins in 1998 it was found that there were areas of the sky which were quite thin. Initial drawing visible in one or two places in the architecture.
[1] Upper quadrant, white chalk: 63 [?]
[2] Right quadrant white chalk: No 5
[3] Left quadrant white chalk: Foundling Hospt
[1] Upper quadrant: Manchester | ART TREASURES | Foundling
[2] Upper quadrant: Illegible fragment
[3] Upper quadrant: Illegible fragment
[4] Right quadrant: The Tate Gallery | Thomas Coram Foundling | Richard Wilson | [illegible] | Manners and Morals: Hogarth | and British Painting 1700-1765 | 13 Oct - 3 Jan 1989
The Foundling Hospital was still under construction in 1746, on a site approximately where Woburn Square is today. Only the West Wing for boys was complete, although Wilson has omitted any evidence of this, presumably in order to present an idealised image.
Pendant P19 St George's Hospital, The Foundling Museum, London
P18 and P19 were two of eight round views of London hospitals and educational institutions displayed in the General Court Room of the Foundling Hospital. All the same size, the others were by Gainsborough (The Charterhouse); Samuel Wale (Christ's Hospital, St Thomas's Hospital, Greenwich Hospital): and Edward Haytley (Bethlem Hospital and Chelsea Hospital). The were framed by gilt oak leaves and acorns, embellished by painted foliage and garlands and surmounted by grotesque heads carved by William Hallett (c.1707-1781).
75; FM 65
R.H. Nichols & F.A. Wray, The History of the Foundling Hospital, 1935, pp. 251, 261-62, repr. opp. p. 271; WGC, p. 180, pl. 43a; B. Nicolson & J.F. Kerslake, The Treasures of the Foundling Hospital, 1972, pp. 81-82. no. 86, pl. 56; E.K. Waterhouse, British 18th Century Painters in Oils and Crayons, Woodbridge 1981; Solkin 1982, pp. 149-50 under no. 8; J. Marschner et al., eds, Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the modern World, 1987, p. 420
The Court Room of the Foundling Hospital was one of the first public spaces for the display of British art, presenting a major opportunity to impress wealthy patrons. Wilson intended P18 and P19 to be advertisements for his skills as an estate painter and classical artist.
Dimensions framed: 66.4 x 66.3 cm including tablet. Canvas primed and stretched. Relined 1973-74. The original carved gilded and gessoed frame was probably the work of William Hallett, paid £11.4s. 'For 8 carved oval frames for pictures' on November 15th 1746 (Ms Book of Furniture, Foundling Museum Archive, LMA Research 007).