Somerville College, University of Oxford

Somerville College, University of Oxford

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Somerville was founded in 1879 to give women, at that time excluded from membership of the University, the chance to benefit from an Oxford education. Its founders insisted that no discrimination would be made on the basis of religious belief. These ground-breaking origins inspired an ethos of openness, inclusiveness and a willingness to question accepted orthodoxies that has characterised the College ever since. The College has admitted men since 1994. Mary Somerville (1780–1872) after whom the College is named, was one of the best known woman scientists of the nineteenth century. She was the author of best-selling books on science and a highly respected mathematician and astronomer. Mary Somerville juggled home life and career, being twice married and the mother of five children. She was also a talented landscape artist, and some of her paintings are displayed in College. Former Principals are recorded in paintings kept in the main Hall – other works of art are displayed throughout the College, many in private areas. Somerville College is pleased to be associated with the PCF project to catalogue as many of these works of art as possible. It is stressed that the paintings at Somerville 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. Access to paintings is normally reserved for those involved in academic research, and who should apply to The Keeper of College Pictures via the General Enquiry form on the College website (, or in writing direct to Somerville College, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HD.

Woodstock Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX2 6HD England

01865 270600

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