L'Hospital des Enfans Trouvés à Londres - The Foundling Hospital London
Published according to Act of Parliament 1. May 1756
XVIIIth century optical view in original watercolors. Original copper plate engraving on laid paper with watermark heightened with watercolor at that time. Published in London circa 1756, depicting a view of the Foundling Hospital in London (England).
During the 18th Century, several renowned establishments in Paris, London (England), Augsburg (Germany) and Bassano (Italy) were specialized in the creation of these optical views. They could be viewed alone or through a zograscope, a wooden foot surmounted by a lens which enlarged the image and accentuated the perspective effect. They could also be placed in optical boxes, the spectator then looked inside the box through the lens. This distraction was greatly appreciated in the 18th Century in the salons of the bourgeoisie and the nobility as in the countryside thanks to the hawkers.
These etchings are nowadays exhibited in museums around the world and extremely appreciated by collectors and decorators for their historical interest and their high decorative value.
Foxing spots in the lower margin
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Thomas Coram presented his first petition for the establishment of a Foundling Hospital to King George II in 1735. The petition was signed by twenty-one prominent women from aristocratic families. Two further petitions, with male signatories from the nobility, professional classes, gentry, and judiciary, were presented in 1737. The Royal Founding Charter, signed by King George II, was presented by Coram at a distinguished gathering at 'Old' Somerset House to the Duke of Bedford in 1739. It contains the aims and rules of the Hospital and the long list of founding Governors and Guardians: this includes 17 dukes, 29 earls, 6 viscounts, 20 barons, 20 baronets, 7 Privy Councillors, the Lord Mayor and 8 aldermen of the City of London; and many more besides.
The first children were admitted to the Foundling Hospital on 25 March 1741, into a temporary house located in Hatton Garden. Private funding was insufficient to meet public demand. Between 1 June 1756 and 25 March 1760, and with financial support from parliament, the Hospital adopted a period of unrestricted entry. Admission rates soared to highs of 4000 per year. By 1763 admission was by petition, requiring applicants to provide their name and circumstances. Children were seldom taken after they were twelve months old, except for war orphans.
The Galerie Napoléon is pleased to propose to you this strong water etching printed 266 years ago (around 1756).
As for all the antique prints in our catalogue, this optical view L'Hospital des Enfans Trouvés à Londres - The Foundling Hospital London datant de 1756 is dispatched worldwide within 24H in a Secured packaging, accompanied by its certificate of authenticity guaranteeing the name of the artists (draughtsman, engraver, editor), the impression process used (Strong water) and its date (1756).
In order to guarantee a perfect conservation in time, this strong water etching is dispatched, ready to be framed, under museum quality color passepartout (manufactured without acid in the pulp for a neutral pH) on a cream mountboard made from carton bois (also acid free & neutral pH), in a luxurious portfolio.
At the apogee of the mode for optical views, between 1750 and 1790, four European cities specialized in their edition: Paris (France), London (England), Augsburg (Germany) and Bassano (Italy).
Optical views are prized in very different social circles : pleasant recreation in aristocratic salons, the views are admired in beautiful and richly decorated optical boxes which are real works of art. The show was transformed into a real scientific experiment. But the optical views also entertained the people who were in a hurry when a hawker set up a box on a market and began to narrate the extraordinary events that had taken place in a more or less distant and inaccessible country.
There are three categories in the production of optical views.
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