Threads of Feeling Fate, Hope & Charity

Threads of Feeling  Fate, Hope & Charity USA exhibition: Threads of Feeling, DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Colonial Williamsburg, USA May 2013 - 27 May 2014. UK exhibition: Fate, Hope & Charity, Foundling Museum, London, 25 Jan - 19 May 2013

THREADS OF FEELING In 14 October 2010 – 6 March 2011 the Foundling Museum, London, displayed the highly emotive exhibition entitled Threads of Feeling. The exhibition showcased fabrics never shown before to illustrate the moment of parting as mothers left their babies at the original Foundling Hospital. In the cases of more than 4,000 babies left between 1741 and 1760, a small object or token, usually a piece of fabric, was kept as an identifying record. The fabric was either provided by the mother or cut from the child’s clothing by the hospital's nurses. Attached to registration forms and bound up into ledgers, these pieces of fabric form the largest collection of everyday textiles surviving in Britain from the 18th Century. In 2013 Threads of Feeling will be exhibited at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in the United States at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum from 25 May 2013 - 27 May 2014. A selection of the textiles forms the focus of the Threads of Feeling exhibition, along with examples of the kinds of garments made from them, and the stories they tell us about individual babies, their mothers and their lives. Curator: John Styles FATE, HOPE & CHARITY From 25 January - 19 May 2013 the Foundling Museum continues the token story by staging a revelatory story-telling exhibition bringing to light the untold stories behind the tokens. By reuniting the eighteenth-century tokens with the foundlings to whom they belonged, Fate, Hope & Charity uncovers stories that are a testament to the grief of separation and timeless bond between a mother and her child. Most of the tokens were textiles, which were pinned to the admission records. These textile tokens were the subject of the Foundling Museum’s previous Threads of Feeling exhibition. But among the tokens were also hundreds of small, three-dimensional objects - keys, coins, jewellery, buttons, poems, playing cards, medals and the like. Most were removed from the Hospital’s admission records in the nineteenth century, severing the link with the children they were meant to identify - until now. Individual stories will be told through their tokens together with art works and artefacts from the period. Many address issues still current today; the hardship faced by military wives and widows, and debates around the benefits of male doctors versus female midwives in the management of childbirth. These stories have been unearthed after seven years of painstaking research by Foundling Museum volunteers and independent researchers Janette Bright and Dr. Gillian Clark. A chance meeting in 2005 in the Hospital archive united textile artist Janette, and social historian Gillian, whose earlier work on the foundlings includes the time they spent with foster families outside London. Through a process of exhaustive detective work, the two researchers reunited orphaned tokens with their foundlings. The new research reveals fascinating and often deeply moving facts about the tokens themselves, the circumstances surrounding the mother’s decision to give up her baby and the moving stories of the individual foundlings to whom the tokens belonged. Foundling Museum 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 - 17:00 and Sunday 11:00 - 17:00 £7.50// concessions £5//Children and Art Fund Members FREE// National Trust members half price 020 7841 3600 // [email protected]


40 Brunswick Square

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00


020 7841 3600


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