Originally founded as New Hall, Murray Edwards College was founded in 1954 as the "third foundation" for women students at Cambridge University at a time when Cambridge had the lowest proportion of women undergraduates of any university in the UK. Up to that time there were only two colleges that could accept women, Girton and Newnham, both founded in the late nineteenth century. Hughes Hall (although not a college of the University) was also allowed to admit up to 70 women students in all. The New Hall Art Collection, consisting solely of work by women artists, has evolved through gifts and loans from artists and alumnae since 1986. It is a growing body of approximately 400 works of varying medium and is the most significant collection of its kind in Europe. The works are displayed in the Grade II* surroundings of Murray Edwards College (Chamberlain, Powell & Bon, 1960). The Collection is of international, national and regional interest as a base for the study of works by women, enabling viewers to trace movements in art in a variety of media over more than 50 years, a period during which women have achieved unprecedented prominence in the visual arts. Prestigious artists such as Maggi Hambling, CBE, Dame Paula Rego and Judy Chicago have donated works, but this is not a closed Collection. Murray Edwards College's role as a women's college and its sympathetic setting for contemporary art were determining factors in the establishment of a collection of work by women, a decision not based on assumptions that art is a gendered activity. The calibre of works received, the support of the artists, public and media interest and rich cultural content – in short, unexpected success and dynamism despite very limited resources – have prompted recognition of its growing heritage and cultural significance in its own right. The main areas of the New Hall Art Collection are available for viewing by the public from 10am to 6pm every day. Some rooms may not be available at particular times because of meetings or other events. Please respect the privacy of other people using the College. To see works hung in other areas of the College, or if you have a particular request, please enquire about availability. Groups wishing to see the Collection must book in advance.
New Hall Art Collection, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge
Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB3 0DF England
01223 762 100http://www.murrayedwards.cam.ac.uk/
Please remember to double-check the opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit