Taths logoTools and Trades History Society

Foundling Museum Research

Anthony Baker is hoping that TATHS might be able to help with his research regarding a carved section of chimney-piece or mantelpiece found in the Committee Room fireplace at the Foundling Museum. This was designed by William Hogarth during the early 1740s; the carver is unknown.



It has long been felt that there was some Masonic iconography contained within the design. I have shown the design to a Masonic Historian who feels that there are certain items that might be related to the regalia but is sure that it has no Masonic connections.

The carving was a gift to the Foundling Hospital by Hogarth for his friend and Hospital founder Thomas Coram. Coram was a shipbuilder (shipwright) in New England as well as a merchant navy Captain. The photo attached shows the carving, the dividers could relate to both trades, the curved object to the right could be a sextant. The object to the left is a curious item, something I don’t recognise, it appears to have four graduated cross sections on a single beam. I wondered with your knowledge of woodworking tools you might be able to identify it and therefore what it was used for. If you had the time you might be able to recognise other objects contained within the carving. For example the object under the beam might be a telescope, that is unless you know better!
I would be grateful for any time that you are able to give this little mystery.


Thank you in advance for any help you are able to give.

Anthony Baker

 If you would like to make a donation to TATHS click on the donate button   DONATE   Thank you.