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The French Hospital for poor French Protestants and their descendants residing in Great Britain was incorporated in 1718. Affectionately known as La Providence, it was one of the earliest foundations to cater for London's needy immigrants, and one of the first in Britain to provide sympathetic care for the mentally ill. This book charts the hospital's history from its early days in Finsbury to its present location in the cathedral city of Rochester, Kent, where it provides sheltered housing for elderly people of Huguenot descent. Over the years many distinguished Huguenot settlers or their descendants have been associated with the hospital, among them the soldiers Henri, Earl of Galway, and John, Earl Ligonier, the lawyer Sir Samuel Romilly and the archaeologist Sir Austen Henry Layard. The ivory carver David Le Marchand died there in 1726. The architect Robert Lewis Roumieu designed the spectacular new building in Victoria Park, Hackney, which was the French Hospital's home from the late 1860s to the early 1940s. More than a hundred new photographs of the hospital's collections of paintings, engravings, silver, furniture and memorabilia provide a unique visual record. Portraits featured include the eighteenth-century Huguenot merchants Jean-Henri Guinand and Pierre Ogier. The early hospital records held at the Huguenot Library include tradesmen's bills, portraits of inmates and hospital staff. An eighteenth-century steward's diary records that one inmate hid over half a hundredweight of the hospital's coal supply under her bed. Heraldic shields and book-plates record some of the principal Huguenot families who have served as directors, and a transcription of the 1742 inventory compiled in French lends historical colour. This richly illustrated account will appeal to a wide audience including social and art historians and all who are interested in Huguenot heritage.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780952432272
ISBN-10: 0952432277
Format: Hardback
(296mm x 220mm x 18mm)
Pages: 128
Imprint: John Adamson
Publisher: John Adamson Publishing Consultants
Publish Date: 19-Feb-2009
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Tessa Murdoch

Dr Tessa Murdoch, FSA, is Acting Keeper, Department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass, Victoria and Albert Museum, and has been a director of the French Hospital since 1999. Family silver by her ancestor the London-based Huguenot goldsmith Edward Feline inspired her doctoral research on Huguenot artists and craftsmen in Great Britain and Ireland. At the Museum of London she worked on the exhibition The Quiet Conquest: The Huguenots 1685-1985 marking the tercentenary of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. She is lead curator for the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries which opened at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2009, featuring some spectacular Huguenot craftsmanship. She is a member of the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. Randolph Vigne, FSA, has devoted many years to researching the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Huguenot diaspora and writing and lecturing extensively about it. For eighteen years he edited the publications of the Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and for six was its president. A contributor to many collections of essays on Huguenot history, he was co-editor in 2001 of the book From Strangers to Citizens, the published papers from the conference marking the 350th anniversary of Edward VI's Royal Charter which granted the right of the Huguenots and Dutch and Walloon Protestants in England to worship according to their own liturgy. He has been a director of the French Hospital for thirty years and was its treasurer for ten.

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