Corpus Christi is one of the ancient colleges of the University of Cambridge. Established in 1352 by the Guilds of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is the only college in Oxford or Cambridge founded by their citizens. The earliest surviving portrait is of one of the most important Masters: Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury (1559–1575). Four others deserving of special mention are portraits of John Jegon and Henry Butts; the portrait by Philip de László of Edmund Courtney Pearce; and the portrait of Sir George Thomson. The portrait discovered in 1952 in a heap of builders’ rubbish has become the now iconic image of the great Elizabethan dramatist Christopher Marlowe, a Corpus undergraduate. The College is still adding to its collection of pictures: sometimes through generous benefaction and steadily through the commission of portraits of its Masters. Two notable recent additions to the collection by living artists are the portraits of Sir Tony Wrigley by Robert Priseman and Oliver Rackam by Andrew Festing.
It is stressed that the paintings at Corpus Christi 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.