The Foundling Museum takes pride in being London's first ever art gallery, but it also happens to tell the story of London's first home for abandoned children. Known as the Foundling Hospital, the home was founded in 1739 by the philanthropic sea captain Thomas Coram.
The Foundling Museum was established in 2004 to tell the story of this institution, the story of Thomas Coram and also the story William Hogarth and George Frideric Handel, both major benefactors of the Foundling Hospital. The museum's art collection features Britain's most prominent eighteenth century artists: William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, Louis-Francois Roubiliac and others. Most of these works were donated by the artists themselves for the children.