Foundling Museum Basic Instincts Exhibition

Forget about the title of this exhibition, because the idea behind it is actually great.  Curated by Jacqueline Riding, the Foundling Museum, London has a new exhibition exploring attitudes to love, desire and female “respectability” in the Georgian period through the paintings of the artist Joseph Highmore (1692-1780).  Highmore was a successful painter whose art underwent a profound change thanks to his involvement with the new Foundling Hospital in the 1740s.  Highmore’s work with the Foundling and his new paintings started a debate about women’s vulnerability to sexual assault and the Foundling’s exhibition is the first major assessment of Highmore’s work for many years.

The exhibition runs until 7 Jan 2018, and there are several events around the exhibition that might be of interest to WSG blog readers. There is a talk on 21 October by Hallie Rubenhold on Georgian courtesans and prostitutes, and a symposium on 20 November, which will also feature a tour of the exhibition.  For further information and to find out how to get to the Foundling, see its website.

Foundling Museum’s Art Happens campaign

Fallen Woman campaign material
Fallen Woman campaign material

The Foundling Museum, WSG’s kind host for this year’s seminar series, is putting on an exhibition that WSG followers can really get behind.  It falls a little bit outside WSG’s time period, but it is about the nineteenth-century idea of the “Fallen Woman” and the real Victorian women who gave up their babies to the Foundling Hospital.

To complete the exhibition, the Foundling is seeking £23,000 from the public.  It has an Art Happens fundraising page on the Art Fund website, where interested parties can donate, and learn more about the project.  It is already 65% funded at the time of this blog post, which indicates the degree of interest in the project so far.

You can follow updates from @foundlingmuseum, through their #FallenWoman hashtag, and from @artfund #arthappens.