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  • Seller: antiques
  • Posted: December 14, 2016 10:35 am

Emma Brownlow king Taking Leave ,Part Off the foundling set off 4 paintings.Emma Brownlow King painted a second set of the famous paintings which hang in the museum  in 1869 for her father for his home.

One of the paintings in this second set came up in auction in Sothebys in 2008 and made £16,000.This painting is only the second of the set to come on the market and it was being restored to go back to the museum on loan .



The room in the picture still exsists with the paintings and table that are in the painting in the foundling museum

The painting has been fully relined cleaned and varnished as it has been behind glass all its life.

The original frame has been restored and gold leafed as this is how it would have been when it was made.

The painting should belong in a big house or stately home so any offers would be considered to put it back to the enviorment it surely deserves to be in

Emma Brownlow King,  Emma Brownlow (1832–1905)

a summary of her Bloomsbury connections

She was one of the three daughters of former Foundling and long-time Foundling Hospital Secretary, John Brownlow, and his wife Johanna Parker

Known as Emma Brownlow King after her marriage to the singer Donald King in 1867, she was commissioned as a young woman to paint four pictures for the Foundling Hospital, illustrating life at the institution

The paintings were ‘The Foundling restored to its Mother’ (1858), ‘The Christening’ (1863), ‘The Sick Room’ (1864), and ‘Taking Leave’ (1868); they now hang in the Foundling Museum (opens in new window)

The Foundling Hospital Collection

The Foundling Hospital Collection spans four centuries and contains paintings, sculpture, prints, manuscripts, furniture, clocks, photographs and ephemera. Some of the most poignant items in the Collection are the foundling tokens.  These were pinned by mothers to their baby’s clothes and upon entry, the Hospital would attach them to the child’s record of admission. As foundling babies were given new names, these tokens helped ensure correct identification, should a parent ever return to claim their child. The children were not allowed to keep their tokens, which were frequently everyday objects, such as a coin or button. The Hospital gradually evolved a more sophisticated administrative system, whereby mothers were issued with receipts. So the practice of leaving tokens died out at the beginning of the nineteenth century. 


The Foundling Hospital Art Collection began in 1740, when William Hogarth donated his magnificent portrait of Captain Thomas Coram.  This painting commemorated George II signing the Charter for the Hospital’s establishment. Encouraged by Hogarth, many of the leading artists of the day supported the Hospital in its early years. Hogarth donated further artworks, as did contemporaries including Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Hudson, Allan Ramsay, Joshua Reynolds, Louis-François Roubiliac and John Michael Rysbrack.  In 1857 the Hospital Governors decided to create a designated ‘Picture Room’ to best display and preserve the Hospital’s Art Collection.

Although the original Hospital building was torn down in the 1920s, the Foundling Museum contains many elements of the original interiors.  These include the fully restored Court Room with its glorious rococo plasterwork; recreations of the Committee Room and the Picture Gallery; the oak staircase from the Hospital’s West Wing and two altarpieces, the font and pews from the Hospital’s Chapel. 

Integral to the Court Room’s design are four large scale biblical paintings by Hogarth, Francis Hayman, Joseph Highmore and James Wills and between them, roundels depicting topographical scenes of London Hospitals by artists including Gainsborough, Samuel Wale and Richard Wilson. The sculptor John Michael Rysbrack produced the marble relief set into John Devall’s marble chimney piece.

The Collection contains significant nineteenth century art, including works by John Everett Millais and Thomas Benjamin Kennington. Although women were not involved in the governance of the Hospital until the twentieth century, the Collection also holds works by the Victorian artists, Emma Brownlow and Sophia Anderson, which depict everyday life at the Hospital.The painting collection can be searched online via the BBC’s Your Paintings website. 



The Hospital acquired considerably less art in the twentieth century, but continued the tradition of having fashionable artists of the day paint portraits of its Governors. The Collection continues to expand, most recently with the preservation of oral histories of former foundlings, whose childhood memories from the first half of the twentieth century are graphically preserved in audio interviews, photographs and film. These oral histories, titled Foundling Voices can be viewed online. Thanks to an anonymous donation in 2010 the Museum was able to acquire Baby Things, Mitten by Tracey Emin which was originally displayed as part of the exhibition Mat Collishaw, Tracey Emin & Paula Rego: At the Foundling. This tiny bronze cast, a gift from the artist and a private donor, is permanently displayed outside the Museum on the railing behind Thomas Coram’s statue, a contemporary response to our eighteenth century tokens.

 Images: Taking Leave, 1868, by Emma King (Brownlow) (1832-1905) © Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum and Tracey Emin, Baby things [Mitten], 2008, patinated bronze // Copyright Tracey Emin // Image courtesy Tracey Emin Studio // Collection The Foundling Museum // Photo: Chris Tribble


The Foundling Museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, which continues today as the children’s charity Coram.

The Museum has two principal collections, the Foundling Hospital Collection and the Gerald Coke Handel Collection. The Foundling Hospital Collection relates primarily to the history of the Foundling Hospital between its foundation in 1739 and its closure in 1954. The Collection includes significant paintings, sculpture, prints, manuscripts, furniture, clocks and historical documents.

The Gerald Coke Handel Collection relates to the life and work of the composer George Frideric Handel. The Collection was assembled by Gerald Coke and includes manuscripts, printed books and music, ephemera, coins, medals and art works from the eighteenth to the twentieth century.

The Foundling Museum also tells the story of the 25,000 children who passed through the Hospital. The Hospital’s administrators maintained a high standard of record keeping and whilst some important documentation dealing with the children’s lives is on display at the Museum most is contained in the Foundling Hospital Archives housed at the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA). This collection of paper records, including personal data and Governors’ minutes now occupies eight hundred linear feet of shelving at the LMA.





Images: Foundling girls at prayer in the Chapel, c.1855 by Sophia Anderson (1828-1903), oil on canvas © Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum

George Frideric Handel, 1739, terracotta bust by Louis Francois Roubiliac 1695-1762 © Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum


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