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Oxford Portraits: University of Oxford

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About the collection

Painting of Lord Carlingford by James Tissot, 1871

Oxford University's collection of portraits includes unique images of individuals from all walks of life including British and foreign monarchs, leaders of nations, scientists, writers, scholars and artists, who have shaped the history of the nation both from within these shores and in the world at large. Dating from c.1450 to the present day, the collection includes paintings, drawings, sculpture, medals and photographs by celebrated artists and others of regional significance.

Second in size only to the National Portrait Gallery's collection, which is the largest collection of portraits in the world, Oxford University's portrait collection complements that held in the National Portrait Gallery and is of world-wide interest and significance.

Often donated by individuals who are themselves of note, the portraits shed new light on the history of the University and its interaction with other institutions, including government, monarchy and the professions. Dispersed throughout libraries, ceremonial and administrative buildings, teaching and research institutions, they provide visual histories of the foundation and development of academic disciplines and research networks within the University and elsewhere. The portraits contribute towards public understanding of the work of the University, and in the construction of its institutional identity.

Largely unpublished records in Oxford University and College archives and libraries document the commissioning, donation and reception of individual portraits in the collection.

The Oxford Portraits project

In 2005 the University received a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council for a one-year pilot project to deliver an online catalogue of the collections of portraits in the University's Examination Schools and at Pembroke College, and to develop a sustainable technical framework with the capacity to include the entire collection of portraits in the University of Oxford and its constituent Colleges. The National Portrait Gallery and Oxford Digital Library are collaborative partners in the project.

Online access to Oxford Portraits

Portraits from the University's Examinations Schools are available on Open Access to all users via the VADS website.

Copyright and Contact Information

Painting of Peregrine Palmer by Richard Phelps, 1764

The images and data held on the Oxford Portraits website are in the copyright of the University of Oxford, Pembroke College, and in some cases, the artist, his or her estate. You may access images and data, and print copies for study purposes and personal use. Please contact Oxford University Images if you would like to use images or data for any other purpose. We can supply high quality images for reproduction on request.



Edited by Annette Peach

Oxford Portraits was created in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery and Oxford Digital Library. The search options were modelled on those developed for the National Portrait Gallery by Cogapp.

Data and prototype design and engineering James Piggot
Website design and engineering James Piggot
Database MySQL
Website developed using PHP - Hypertext Preprocessor
Website Hosted by Oxford Digital Library
Photography Studio Edmark, Oxford
Image magnification Zoomify
Database rights Annette Peach (maker)
Illustration reproduction and archiving Oxford Digital Library
Illustrations copyright © individual copyright holders
Research support Oxford DNB
Project support Arts and Humanities Data Service
Project scheme funding Arts & Humanities Research Council
Project development support History Faculty, University of Oxford

Oxford Portraits is supported by:

Arts and Humanities Research Council National Portrait Gallery Oxford University Library Services Oxford University Oxford DNB

Image credits



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