Five major photographers have created powerful portraits of former children of the Foundling Hospital, giving a voice to the individuals who embody the historic story of care.
Over 200 years, the Foundling Hospital admitted approximately 25,000 children but until now, not one was represented in the museum’s collection. In this landmark project the museum has commissioned five leading artists including Turner Prize-winner Wolfgang Tillmans and portrait and landscape photographer Ingrid Pollard, to create portraits of former Foundling pupils.
Each artist uses photography to showcase the faces of the Foundling pupils: Wolfgang Tillmans photographed Ruth, 84, who entered the hospital in 1942; Ingrid Pollard has photographed 87-year-old Jocelyn; David Moore photographed Lydia, 87, at the Foundling Hospital’s Berkhamsted site; Mahtab Hussain photographed John, 85; Jillian Edelstein photographed Henry, 84.
The portraits will hang alongside the grand paintings of the hospital’s governors and benefactors giving the children of the Foundling Hospital the visibility they deserve as an integral part of its history. It was incredibly important to ensure these portraits of the last few remaining pupils were captured to maintain an important link to the past.
Accompanying the project is a documentary film, The Sitting, by director Gilly Booth, which animates the story of these remarkable sitters and artists, bringing an extra layer of visibility to the lives of the 25,000 children that this project commemorates.
Works in this exhibition were commissioned with Art Fund support.