Trinity College, University of Oxford

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Trinity College was founded in 1555 by Sir Thomas Pope, Knight, and his wife Lady Elizabeth Pope, as a small community of 12 fellows, 12 scholars and up to 20 undergraduates under the headship of a President. The new foundation occupied the premises of the medieval Durham College which had been dissolved in the Reformation. Thomas Pope’s intention that Trinity would be a training ground for Catholic priests was soon overturned as the early members were forced to adapt to Protestantism under Queen Elizabeth. As the centuries have passed the college has evolved steadily, becoming in turn a pillar of the Anglican establishment in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; a centre of educational reform in the nineteenth; and a thriving part of Oxford University today. The very first oil paintings acquired by Trinity College were copy portraits of the Founder, Sir Thomas Pope, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Pope, which were purchased for the College Hall in about 1612. From this humble beginning has grown a significant collection of portraits that reflect the changing faces and lives of successive generations of the college community. By the end of the nineteenth century Trinity was actively commissioning paintings of Presidents and distinguished and long-serving fellows, and this tradition continues today, often with the assistance of the Trinity Society alumni association. It is stressed that the paintings at Trinity 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. Paintings in the Hall may be viewed whenever Trinity College is open to the public. Those in private rooms may be viewed by appointment only. To check on the locations and accessibility of a particular painting, please contact the Archivist (

Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3BH England

01865 279900

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