Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum is the country’s oldest public museum and home to one of the most important collections of art and archaeology to be found anywhere.
The collections span the civilisations of east and west, charting the aspirations of humankind from the Neolithic era to the present day. Among its treasures are the world's largest collection of Raphael drawings, the most important collection of pre-Dynastic Egyptian material in Europe, the only great Minoan collection in Britain, the finest Anglo-Saxon collections outside the British Museum and the foremost collection of modern Chinese art in the Western world.
Tues - Sun & Bank Holiday Mondays: 10.00-17.00
Closed: Every Mon & 24,25,26 Dec
Parking is available next to the Museum on St. Giles
The entire collection of the Ashmolean Museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.
The Ashmolean Museum was founded in 1683, the first institutional museum in Britain, and arguably in Europe. Notable among antiquities are the Egyptian collections, the Classical Greek collections including the ‘Arundel Marbles’ and the Felix Gem, and the Alfred Jewel. Paintings date from early Italian to Pre-Raphaelite and there are outstanding drawings by Raphael and Michelangelo. The arts of China, Japan, South East Asia and Islam are well represented, as are Maiolica, Renaissance bronzes and numismatics.
World Cultures, Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Coins and Medals, Archaeology
Key artists and exhibits
- Designated Collection
Joseph Beuys & Jörg Immendorff: Art Belongs To The People!
- 10 April 2014 — 4 January 2015 *on now
The exhibition focuses on the artists’ output from 1968 onwards, evoking the world of the student protests which were taking place across Europe and in the United States. In 1968, Beuys was a teacher and Immendorff his student at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art. Beuys had already established himself as a leading figure of the post-war avant-garde and had been involved with the international Fluxus movement since the early 1960s. His provocative statements and work in new and challenging media – performance pieces, sculpture in felt and animal fat – gave expression to his radical conception of art that won him both a devoted following and vehement opposition.
Jörg Immendorff joined the Düsseldorf Academy of Art in 1963 as a theatre design student before he changed course to study under Beuys. He was, throughout his career, involved in international protest movements, taking part in the anti-Vietnam war rallies, the Green movement, and, from the 1970s, engaged in the debate over the division of Germany.
This exciting exhibition series of contemporary art is presented on the lower ground floor in Gallery 2.
Fang Zhaoling: A Centenary Exhibition
- 2 October 2014 — 22 February 2015 *on now
Drawn from private collections, including the Fang family collection, many of the works are on display for the first time in public.
she moved to Hong Kong and continued to develop her art. She studied with the Lingnan School master, Zhao Shao’ang (1905–1998), and later with one of the most celebrated Chinese artists, Zhang Daqian (1899–1983). She lived and travelled in Europe and America, and attended both Hong Kong and Oxford Universities. She continued to work as a well-established artist into her eighties. The paintings in this display are from private collections in Asia and the UK
some Fang gave as gifts to her friends and colleagues during her time in Oxford.
Russian Art at the Ashmolean Museum
- 7 October 2014 — 11 January 2015 *on now
The Ashmolean is home to an important collection of Russian art that, for conservation reasons, cannot be displayed permanently.
On temporary display in the Gallery will be Leonid Pasternak's portrait of his two sons, Boris and Alexander, as well as a selection of watercolours and drawings by fellow Russian artists Konstantin Somov, Alexander Benois and Leon Bakst.
Born in Odessa in 1862, Pasternak is best known for his portraits, especially those of Tolstoy and his family. He became a popular painter in Russia, as well as a renowned teacher in Moscow, and his art was exhibited internationally. He moved to Oxford in 1938, where he died seven years later.
William Blake: Apprentice and Master
- 4 December 2014 — 1 March 2015 *on now
APPRENTICE AND MASTER examines three major aspects of the life and work of William Blake (1757–1827): his formation as an artist and apprenticeship as an engraver; his achievement as a master artist-printmaker, technical innovator, painter, and revolutionary poet; and finally his relationship to the printmakers of the Renaissance, and his influence on a younger generation of artists such as Samuel Palmer.
In one room of the exhibition, a nineteenth-century star-wheel rolling press will be installed where curator, Michael Phillips, will give demonstrations showing how Blake printed his illuminated books.
Ed Paschke: Visionary from Chicago, 1968–2004
- 17 January — 5 July 2015
Ed Paschke: Visionary from Chicago, 1968–2004 is the third in the Ashmolean’s series of exhibitions of post-war and contemporary art presented in collaboration with the Hall Art Foundation (USA). Curated by Sir Norman Rosenthal, a selection of paintings spanning Paschke’s artistic career from 1968 to 2004 will be on view.
Gods In Colour: Painted Sculpture in Antiquity
- 22 January — 14 June 2015
This exhibition of over twenty full-size colour reconstructions of Greek and Roman sculptures challenges the popular notion of classical white marble sculpture. It shows that ancient statues were far more colourful, complex, and exuberant than is often thought.
Great British Drawings
- 26 March — 31 August 2015
The collection of British drawings and watercolours in the Ashmolean is one of the largest and most important in the world. Great British Drawings shows more than one hundred works by some of the country’s greatest artists, to trace the history of drawing in Britain. Many of the drawings are shown for the first time in public.
Love Bites: Caricatures by James Gillray
- 26 March — 21 June 2015
To mark the 200th anniversary of the death of British caricaturist James Gillray (1757–1815), the Ashmolean presents more than 60 of Gillray’s finest caricatures from the outstanding collection of New College, Oxford.
An Elegant Society: Adam Buck, artist in the age of Jane Austen
- 16 July — 11 October 2015
The work of Adam Buck, Regency portrait and miniature painter, provides a fascinating insight into the faces and fashions of this time. Buck’s portraits of The Royals, landowners, Serving Officers and society hostesses, dressed in white muslin, seated or standing in fashionable interiors, brings the world of Jane Austen vividly to life. Jane Austen enthusiasts know Adam Buck’s work better than most.
Drawing in Venice: Titian to Canaletto
- 15 October 2015 — 10 January 2016
Featuring a hundred drawings from the Uffizi, the Ashmolean, and Christ Church, Oxford, Drawing in Venice is a ground-breaking exhibition based on new research.
Family Fun: Curious Containers
- 13 September 2104 1-2pm
From cricket cages to puzzle jugs, discover some unusal containers and make a special box to take home.
- Family friendly