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.
Museum, Gallery, Archive
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
From Istanbul to Oxford: The Origins of Coffee Drinking in England
- 2 October 2019 — 15 March 2020 *on now
Discover how coffee made its way to England through an exploration of both Ottoman coffee-related objects and English adaptations, which illustrate the fascinating and complex relationship between the two powers at the time.
Last Supper in Pompeii
- 2 October 2019 — 12 January 2020 *on now
Located in the sunny paradise of southern Italy, Pompeii was sandwiched between lush vineyards and fertile plains to one side, and the bountiful waters of the Bay of Naples to the other. When the ash from Mount Vesuvius began raining down on Pompeii in AD 79, people were engaged in typical day to day activities: producing, buying and selling food and, most importantly, eating and drinking.
See over 400 rare objects, including fine masterpieces of Roman art which range from the luxury furnishings of Roman dining rooms to the carbonised food that was on the table when the volcano erupted. Everything from the exquisite mosaics and frescoes in the villas of the wealthy to the remains found in kitchen drains, show what the Pompeians loved to eat and drink. This remarkable exhibition provides an extraordinary insight into their everyday lives.
£6 - £12.25
Cai Guo-Qiang: Gunpowder Art
- 25 October 2019 — 19 April 2020 *on now
Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang (b. 1957) is best-known for his gunpowder explosion events staged in public spaces worldwide and, in particular, for his firework display for the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. This exhibition focuses on the artist’s smaller-scale works, exploring the presence of Chinese culture in his art through the mediums of painting, drawing, and gunpowder on canvas, paper and silk. Learn about the significance behind the materials Cai Guo-Qiang chooses to work with, as well as the ways he adapts them to explore his own central themes of creation, destruction and chance.
Philip Guston: Locating the Image
- 23 November 2019 — 8 March 2020
Discover the work of internationally acclaimed American artist Philip Guston (1913–80) in the first solo exhibition of his work in Oxford. The exhibition highlights the importance of working on paper for Guston’s artistic practice, and explores the inspiration he drew from historical art and literature.
Pompeii: City of Venus and Bacchus
- 26 November 2019 6:30-7:30pm
Pompeii was officially dedicated to Venus, Goddess of Love, while Bacchus, God of Wine and Ecstasy, was also hugely popular. Join award-winning historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes and Exhibition Curator Paul Roberts as they discuss the rich and heady lives of Pompeii's inhabitants and the deities they adored. This talk coincides with the release of Bettany Hughes's new book, Venus & Aphrodite - History of a Goddess.
This event includes a private view of our current exhibition, Last Supper in Pompeii, and will be followed by a drinks reception.
- Any age
TICKETS: £25/£22/£20 Full, Concession, Members
The Life and Art of Eric Ravilious: 3 - A Man at War
- 29 November 2019 1-2pm
Ravilious was serving as an official war artist with the RAF when he went missing, presumed killed, in September 1942. The work he produced in this short period secured his reputation as one of Britain's finest 20th-century artists.
This talk is part of a three-part series on Eric Ravilious. Each talk must be booked seperately.
TICKETS: £8/£7/£6 Full, Concession, Members
Print Room Open Doors - Ruskin 200
- 5 December 2019 2-4pm
Come to the Western Art Print Room to discover the work of Victorian polymath John Ruskin (1819–1900) as part of the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of his birth.
We will be offering three sessions, all covering the same content, at the following times:
British Fantasy Art of the 19th and 20th Centuries
- 6 December 2019 3:45-4:45pm
Examine the otherworldly, the supernatural, magic, dreams and the unreal through works on paper, and consider what they reveal about changing attitudes to belief. Explore the fascinating relationship between the visual arts and the emerging literary genre of modern fantasy.
TICKETS: £7/£6/£5 Full, Concession, Members
Wilhelm Bendz (1804-32): Master of the Danish Golden Age
- 13 December 2019 1-2pm
Wilhelm Bendz died in Italy aged only 28, yet in his short career he produced some of the finest portraiture of the Danish Golden Age. Find out more about his works which combine skill, innovation and a refreshing clarity.
TICKETS: £8/£7/£6 Full, Concession, Members.
The Pastorale Tradition in Music
- 20 January 2020 2-4pm
Arcadian landscapes, blue distances, the haunting sounds of a shepherd's pipe. This is one of the most enduring artistic formulae, and composers can match the work of painters and poets all the way from the Renaissance to the Romantics and beyond. Learn how the pastorale tradition renews itself over time.
TICKETS: £12/£11/£10 Full, Concession, Members
Nianhua: The CHinese New Year Print
- 23 January 2020 2-4pm
To celebrate Chinese New Year, this talk will explore the history of the decorative nianhua or New Year picture. Events from China’s past as depicted in the prints will be explained, exciting tales of myth and legend unraveled, and symbolic, hidden meanings revealed. Followed by a viewing of examples from the Museum’s own collection.
Doctor Zhivago and the Two Pasternaks
- 25 January 2020 11am-12pm
A new translation of Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak has just been published containing numerous illustrations by his father, Leonid Pasternak. The book and the art are presented and discussed by Boris' nephew, Nicolas Pasternak, and picture editor Maya Slater.
TICKETS: £8/£7/£6 Full, Concession, Members