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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.
oil on canvas
H 238.7 x W 147.3 cm
presented by the artist, 1740
Signed:: W.Hogarth Pinxt 1740