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The Charterhouse

Photo credit: Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum

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Gainsborough was only 21-years-old when he produced this painting for the Court Room at the Foundling Hospital. Gainsborough’s picture is one of eight roundels of hospitals and other charitable institutions painted by various artists for the Court Room. Of the artists who donated their work, Gainsborough was the youngest and, in the opinion of the antiquary George Vertue, his picture was the best. In November 1748 he appeared in a list of 'esteemed eminent painters' in the 'Universal Magazine', alongside William Hogarth, Allan Ramsay, Samuel Scott and Joshua Reynolds. Although he relied heavily on portrait work, or 'Face-painting' as he called it, for his livelihood, Gainsborough's heart lay in landscape painting. The Charterhouse was founded in 1611 by Thomas Sutton as a hospital for pensioners and a school for boys.

The Foundling Museum





oil on canvas


H 55.8 x W 55.8 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

presented by the artist, 1748

Work type



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Normally on display at

The Foundling Museum

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

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