barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

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Portraits from the University of Birmingham


Jacob Epstein, Tom Phillips, Humphrey Ocean and Jennifer McRae: some of the most respected British artists of the 20th century have been commissioned by the University over the past 100 years to portray and honour its chancellors, vice chancellors and other leading figures.

This selection features oil paintings, works on paper and sculpture, and looks not only at the University’s leaders, but also some of its most prominent academics as well as those who played an instrumental role in student life. It explores the process of commissioning and realising portraits, rather than attempting to be a history of the University. However, gathered for the first time together, these sometimes surprising images nevertheless still reveal something of the character and eclecticism of the institution – the UK’s original redbrick University.

Teacher Resource Packs

For self guided tours of KS3, KS4 & KS5 groups

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