A case for a silver cup given by the Foundling Hospital’s founder Thomas Coram to his nephew and godson, Thomas Corham, has gone on display in the Museum’s Introductory Gallery.
After working as an apprentice to a shipwright in London, at the age of 25 Thomas Coram left England for Boston, USA with a cargo of goods and a team of shipwrights to set up business and secure oak for the Navy. He established the first ship building business in Taunton, south of Boston. On returning to England in 1704 Coram continued to trade with the American colonies and campaign on related issues.
This expensive christening present, given in 1721 to his nephew, shows Coram’s affection but also hints at his level of wealth at this time. It was given in the year before the retired shipbuilder began his 17-year campaign to establish the Hospital and perhaps marks the point when his attention returns fully to his birth country.
The beautiful original leather case inlaid with marbled paper, is displayed next to its accompanying cup.
We are grateful to Peter and Henrietta Fudakowski, Peter and Rosemary Brown, and the Goldsmiths’ Company for donating this object to the Museum.