Captain Thomas Coram (1668–1751)

Image credit: Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum

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This full-length portrait of Captain Thomas Coram was painted and presented to the Foundling Hospital by Hogarth in 1740. Hogarth donated his portrait of the Hospital’s founder to commemorate the granting of the Royal Charter by George II in 1739. Coram is depicted holding the Charter in his hand. Hogarth also makes several references to Coram’s maritime career: the sea backdrop and the globe in the foreground showing the ‘Western or Atlantick Ocean’ illustrate Coram’s seafaring and his time as a shipbuilder in Boston, Massachusetts. Hogarth intended this portrait to inspire British artists to produce what he called ‘mighty portraits’ to rival their continental counterparts. His realistic portrait also broke with convention in that it depicted Coram, a self-made man, in the medium traditionally reserved for royalty and the aristocracy.

Foundling Museum



Captain Thomas Coram (1668–1751)




oil on canvas


H 238.7 x W 147.3 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

presented by the artist, 1740

Work type


Inscription description

Signed:: W.Hogarth Pinxt 1740


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Normally on display at

Foundling Museum

40 Brunswick Square, London, Greater London WC1N 1AZ England

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