This is either a preliminary study for, or a reduced replica of, Ward's Royal Academy exhibit of 1863, no. 199, now in York City Art Gallery. Ward established his reputation painting scenes from English and French history and his strong sense of period led him to become one of the most popular of all Victorian history painters. Thomas Coram, a retired sea captain established the Foundling Hospital in 1759. His portrait, one of the most innovative of the mid-eighteenth century, was painted by William Hogarth who later became a governor of the Hospital. Hogarth encouraged fellow artists, Gainsborough amongst them, to exhibit works in the Governor's Court Room. The money raised from these annual exhibitions helped sustain the Foundation, which rescued abandoned children from the streets.