Fine and Decorative Art Collections

Newnham College’s art collection includes both distinguished paintings and sculptures, alongside a significant collection of oriental and European textiles and furniture. It includes pieces by Augustus John, Turner and Rembrandt, with contemporary commissions including a sculpture by Cathy de Monchaux.

Jane Harrison (NC 1874-1879, Lecturer in Classical Archaeology 1899-1922) by Augustus John.

Newnham’s art collections began in the earliest days of the College. Today, our collection continues to grow through gifts and bequests from alumnae and others, as well as by commission and purchase.

Among notable early benefactors was artist, patron of the arts and collector Christiana Herringham (1852-1929) who bequeathed a significant collection of oriental and European textiles and furniture, along with examples of her own paintings in egg tempera and watercolour. A later discerning collector was Professor Winifred Joan Wadge (NC 1923-6), who in 1986 bequeathed a group of fine watercolours and prints, including Rembrandt etchings.

Donations and bequests continue to enable the College to purchase or commission contemporary works of art. A broad range of materials, media and periods is represented in the collections, from oil paintings, watercolours and contemporary prints, to antique furniture, historic textiles and modern sculpture.

Art can be seen throughout the College. Most of it is concentrated in the public rooms, including the College Hall, various meeting rooms, the Buttery, and even Newnham’s famous corridor. Additionally, some of the sculpture is placed in the gardens. Regular exhibitions take place in the Exhibition Corridor in the Dorothy Garrod Building.

Senior Members of the College also display items from the collections in their studies and offices, and most student rooms include at least one piece of antique furniture, typically a bureau or a coffer.

News & Stories from the Collections

View select articles of news, insights and stories from the Collections, published in the weekly Newnham News.

Most Recent News

Tapestries commissioned for Dorothy Garrod meeting room – September 2018

One of the tapestries by Jilly Edwards

Two large tapestries have been commissioned from Bristol-based textile artist Jilly Edwards. Jilly writes that her work is ‘inspired by glimpses and memories of journeys’: last year she visited Newnham for the first time, and she is now embarking on the first of two abstract designs that express in visual terms her experience and memory of the College buildings, gardens and spirit of the place. Over the summer, she sent us images of the materials she used for her work, of the warp threads starting to be attached to the loom, and of the cartoon that she has drawn to hang behind her loom to guide the weaving process. Watch this space for further updates.

Links and Contacts

To see the College’s full collection of oil paintings, visit our Art UK webpage.

Requests to reproduce images, or to view items from the Collections, should be addressed in the first instance to the College Office Administrator.