The History of the Foundling Hospital

NICHOLS, R.H. & WRAY, F.A. The History of the Foundling Hospital.

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NICHOLS, R.H. & WRAY, F.A. The History of the Foundling Hospital London, Oxford University Press, 1935.

4to. Original blue cloth, gilt crest to upper cover, title to spine; pp. xiv, 424, illustrated with black & white plates; a very good copy, only the occasional slight pencil marks from previous ownership or faint incidental foxing.
First Edition. The comprehensive history of an early British home for abandoned children. Overwhelmed by 'donations', the hospital went through a series of peaks and troughs, with Parliament withdrawing public funding when the true scope and potential cost of the nationwide problem was made manifest. This volume also contains a transcript of the Royal Charter, a list of Vice-Presidents and a register of Governors.
The musical service, which was originally sung by the blind children only, was made fashionable by the generosity of George Frideric Handel, who frequently had Messiah performed there, and who bequeathed to the hospital a fair copy (full score) of his greatest oratorio. Handel's involvement had begun on 1 May 1750 when he directed a performance of Messiah to mark the presentation of the organ (built by Henry Bevington) to the chapel. That first performance was a great success and Handel was elected a Governor of the Hospital on the following day, a position he accepted.