Merton College, the first fully self-governing college in the University of Oxford, was founded in 1264 by Walter de Merton. The collection of pictures in the college reflects the institutional life of this academic community through portraits of former Wardens, fellows and students from the sixteenth century to the present day. Royal visitors such as Queens Katherine of Aragon and Henrietta Maria (who lived in the college in 1643) are also represented. Most of the paintings were donated or bequeathed by former members of the college or their families.The handful of landscapes and abstract works became part of the collection as a result of the artistic interests of individual fellows.
The paintings at Merton College are not in public ownership. In accordance with the charitable aims of the College, which is a private institution, we are including our paintings on this website to widen public awareness and for the benefit of scholarship.
The paintings are hung throughout the College, mainly in private areas. Access to paintings is normally limited to those involved in academic research, who should apply to: The Librarian, Merton College, Oxford OX1 4JD.