Christ Church was established by Henry VIII in 1546. It is a unique joint foundation of a college in the University of Oxford and the cathedral of the diocese. During term time it is home to some 560 undergraduate and postgraduate students and over 100 senior members. Christ Church is the only Oxford and Cambridge college with a designated art gallery, housing one of the most important private Old Master paintings and drawings collections in the country. For reasons of conservation the drawings are not permanently on show, but a selection will be on display at any one time. The basis for Christ Church's art collection is the bequest of General John Guise (1682/1683–1765), who left his collection of over 200 paintings and almost 2,000 drawings to his former college. This extraordinary gift, which is now one of the few eighteenth-century collections still intact, enabled Christ Church to introduce art into the Oxford education, without the necessity to travel abroad or to gain access to stately homes. At that time, in 1767, a publicly accessible art collection was unequalled by any other British institution. The collection grew by subsequent gifts and donations, most notably by the Honourable William Fox-Strangways, who divided his paintings between Christ Church and the Ashmolean and by the family of the poet Walter Savage Landor.
Please note that Christ Church is a private institution and that the paintings are not in public ownership. However, we are including our paintings on this website for the benefit of research and for a wider academic awareness.
Many of our paintings are on display to the public in the purpose-built Picture Gallery and in the Great Hall and can be viewed during the normal opening hours. Access to paintings in private areas of the college is normally reserved to those involved in academic research who should apply to the Curator of the Picture Gallery, Christ Church, Oxford OX1 1DP.