Threads of Feeling: The London Foundling Hospital's Textile Tokens, 1740-1770

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Written as the catalogue to the 2010 exhbition Threads of Feeling.

When mothers left their babies at London's Foundling Hospital in the mid-eighteenth century, the Hospital often retained a small token as a means of identification, usually a piece of fabric. These swatches of fabric now form Britain's largest collection of everyday textiles from the eighteenth century. They include the whole range of fabrics worn by ordinary women, along with ribbons, embroidery and even some baby clothes.

Both beautiful and poignant, each scrap of material reflects the life of a single infant child and that of its absent parent. The enthralling stories the fabrics tell about textiles, fashion, women's skills, infant clothing and maternal emotion are the material of Threads of Feeling.

John Styles is Research Professor in History at the University of Hertfordshire.

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Dimensions24.5 x 1 x 18.5 cm
PublisherBlackmore Ltd, Shaftesbury
AuthorJohn Styles
CollectionFoundling Museum