History of UCL Art Museum

UCL Art Museum's collections contain over 10,000 objects including paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture dating from 1490 to the present day. Works on paper are housed in a traditional Print Room setting in the museum, and paintings and sculpture are displayed in public rooms around college. The collection was founded in 1847 with a gift of the sculpture models and drawings of the Neo-classical artist John Flaxman.

Extensive gifts of prints and drawings were also presented to UCL, including the Grote bequest of 1872. This included an important group of 16th-century German works and a selection of Renaissance and Baroque prints and drawings mainly from Northern Europe. The Vaughan Bequest of 1900 included drawings by Turner and De Wint, Rembrandt etchings, and early proofs and states of Turner's Liber Studiorum and Constable's English Landscape Scenery. The Sherborn Bequest of 1937 added many rare and important prints to the collection including an early edition of Dürer's Apocalypse woodcuts and early states and proofs from Van Dyck's Iconographia.

The collection also holds the collection of prize-winning student work from the Slade School of Art dating from 1890 to the present day. The prize collection contains work by many important 20th-century British artists who studied at the Slade including Stanley Spencer, Augustus John, Edward Wadsworth and Paula Rego. These prize-winning student works were augmented by gifts of work from Slade staff and students including Henry Tonks and David Bomberg. The collection has also been extended by the recent purchase of works by Gwen John, Stanley Spencer and other Slade students.