Chosen by Anne, a Museum volunteer

About the object

Beatrice Forbes (1863-1944) was the daughter of Robert Grey, Treasurer of the Foundling Hospital from 1892 until his death in 1914. During his years of service the family lived on site in the Treasurer’s House. In 1903, Beatrice married Major Patrick William Forbes in the Hospital Chapel. Her husband had served in the British Army in Rhodesia. ‘Pat’ Forbes became a Governor of the Foundling Hospital in 1904.

In 1934, some years after Patrick’s death, Beatrice herself was elected a Governor. She was the fifth woman to hold the position, with the first two women having been elected in 1921. Beatrice was therefore a rare example of a woman involved in the affairs of running the Hospital. In bequeathing her portrait to the Hospital in her will, Beatrice ensured the charity had the first and only painting of a female Governor on its walls.

Bequeathed to the Foundling Hospital under the will of Beatrice Forbes. Purchased for the Foundling Museum by Ian Morrison, 2013.

About the artist

William Carter (1863-1939) was best known for painting portraits, animals and still life. He was the son of the artist Samuel John Carter and brother of the Egyptologist Howard Carter. He lived mostly at Swaffham in Norfolk, but also in London where he exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of British Artists.

Beatrice Forbes, 1906, William Carter (1863-1939), oil on canvas