Emotive Threads of Feeling exhibition travels to the United States

Emotive Threads of Feeling exhibition travels to the United States

Threads of Feeling, the joint Coram and Foundling Museum exhibition that showcased two years ago at the Foundling Museum is currently on display at The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg in the United States

Threads of Feeling, the joint Coram and Foundling Museum exhibition that showcased two years ago at the Foundling Museum is currently on display at The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg in the United States.

The exhibition displays swatches of fabric or ‘tokens’ that illustrate the moment of parting as mothers left their babies at London’s Foundling Hospital, today known as Coram.

The tokens were kept as an identifying record for more than 4,000 babies handed to the hospital between 1741 and 1760. Often fabric, they were either provided by the mother or cut from the child’s clothing by the Foundling Hospital's nurses. Attached to registration forms and bound up into ledgers, these pieces of fabric form the largest collection of everyday textiles surviving in Britain from the 18th century.

Occasionally children were reclaimed, and the pieces of fabric in the ledgers were kept with the expectation that they could be used to identify the child if it was returned to its mother.

“These stories pack powerful, emotional punches, sure to resonate with parents,” said Ronald Hurst, Colonial Williamsburg’s chief curator and vice president for collections, conservation and museums. “We are pleased to have the only mounting of the exhibition in the United States since it closed in London more than two years ago.”

The textiles are beautiful and poignant, embedded in a rich social history. Each swatch reflects the life of a single infant child. The textiles also indicate the types of clothing their mothers wore. Many clothes for babies were usually made up from worn-out adult clothing and the fabrics reveal how working women struggled to be fashionable in the 18th century.

Click here for the online version of the exhibtion

Date Saturday 25th May 2013, 09:00
Location DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum
Address 325 West Francis St, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States