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Oxford University college replaces all-male portrait gallery

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image copyrightROB JUDGES
image captionThe gallery includes women from every decade of co-education at Hertford College

An Oxford University college has replaced an all-male portrait gallery with an all-female one to mark its 40th anniversary of coeducation.

Hertford College has removed paintings of luminaries including John Donne and William Tyndale from its dining hall.

In their place is a photographic collection of female fellows and alumni from philosopher Baroness Warnock to world champion rower Stephanie Cullen.

The new gallery will remain in place for the next 12 months.

image copyrightTim soar
image captionThe hall’s portrait gallery of all-male luminaries included those of William Tyndale and John Donne
image copyrightRobert taylor
image captionPhilosopher Baroness Warnock has been an honorary fellow since 1997
image copyrightRobert taylor
image captionNatasha Kaplinsky graduated in English in 1992 and is now a successful broadcaster

Hertford was the first Oxford college to go fully coeducational - both teaching and housing female students - in 1974.

College principal Will Hutton says: "For centuries the gender of the portraits in Hertford's hall had been 100% male.

"On top of that, colleges like ours only admitted women as undergraduates 40 years ago, which still strikes me as amazingly close to today.

"It seemed fitting for this year, of all years, to give the hall's portraits over to Hertford women to celebrate the anniversary."

image copyrightRobert taylor
image captionJoanne Wicks QC graduated in law in 1985 and specialises in property litigation
image copyrightRobert taylor
image captionStephanie Cullen studied chemistry at Hertford and won gold in the 2011 World Rowing Championships

The gallery includes 21 women from every decade of co-education.

'Big statement'

Specially commissioned portraits represent a wide range of roles from Theresa Moran, who became a teacher and curator Xanthe Brooke to human geneticist Prof Kay Davies and TV broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky.

Project coordinator Emma Smith said: "Marking the coeducation anniversary gave us the opportunity to make a big statement, not only about the importance of women to Hertford's successes since 1974, but about the range of careers and lives our students - both women and men - go into."

She added: "It's not just that our previous portraits were all of men, but more that they represented a narrow definition of achievement, and a very hierarchical one.

"Our new portraits show that we are as proud of unsung achievement and of potential as we are of high office or salary."

Related Topics

  • Women's rights
  • University of Oxford

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