This past Saturday Gracie and I took a last minute trip to London. I'd been wanting to visit the Threads of Feeling Exhibit at the Foundling Museum and realized it was ending on Sunday. The exhibit was showing tokens mothers left with their babies when they took them to the Foundling Hospital, Britain's first home for abandoned children. The hospital was opened in 1741 by, Thomas Coram with the help of famous friends like Hogarth and Handel. A short article about the compassionate Coram, and the significance of his undertaking during this time in Britain's social history is here.
Printed fabric and a mother's letter
The mothers left the tokens, mainly textiles, so they could identify their children if and when they went back to claim them. Hardly any mothers were ever able to return for their babies; of the thousands left there, less than 200 mothers were ever able to return for them. There were beautiful small fabric remnants and ribbons from bonnets and a lot of embroidery too. The images here are some of the items we saw; I scanned them from a set of postcards I bought, there's no named photographer to credit.
Ribbon from a bonnet
I found the whole experience really moving and I'm so glad we made it there before it closed. Gracie enjoys history as much as I do and has almost daily been saying she wants a time machine to go back and visit the past, especially ancient Egypt, a current topic for her in school. We discussed that while the past is fascinating, we're really lucky as women to live in the 21st century. Today as women we have choices - we can vote, have careers, choose who we'd like to marry or choose to not marry at all, we can even decide for ourselves the right time to start a family. We appreciated the craftsmanship in the textiles but also the significance and sadness in the lack of choice they represented. We're so fortunate.
Wool heart and blue ribbon
Another surprise treat for the day was meeting Jill. I can't tell you how fun it was to meet; she is so sweet and lovely and joined us for the exhibit.
Floral printed fabric
Pretty red sprig on linen and red wool
After the Foundling Museum Gracie and I went to get her an Egyptian fix at the British Museum. Gracie couldn't get enough; she was especially taken with "Ginger" the mummy with red hair. Ginger was well preserved in hot, dry sand for thousands of years. Poor guy had no idea he'd end up enclosed in glass for much of eternity with thousands of people staring at him everyday. Gracie observed, "I love looking at everything so much, but doesn't it feel like we're kind of grave robbers too." Hmmm.
The mummies are interesting but I was drawn to the small objects, like these pretty blue shabtis.
Picture heavy I know, but one more image from a current project just finished. I've been kept very busy this week with all sorts of arachnids and insects, here are a few of them now.
Wednesday is currently my favourite day. Happy Wednesday to you!