There are over 250 paintings in the collection at Durham Castle, including over 120 oil paintings, forming most of the collection alongside several watercolours, engravings and cartoons.
Some of the oil paintings came from the collections of the Bishops, including portraits of the bishops themselves, royalty, images of Durham Castle and Cathedral and the surrounding landscapes. There is also a series of Spanish paintings of eight of the Apostles, thought to have been acquired during the Peninsular War.
The remainder of the collection has been created since University College was established in the 1830s. A large part of this collection hangs in the Great Hall. Portraits of individuals who played a significant part in the founding of Durham University, prominent members of the church, academics, or previous Masters of University College all feature.
Watercolours, illustrations and cartoons
The collection includes a number of watercolours, illustrations and cartoons; most notable are those by Edward Bradley (1827-1889), a student at University College between 1845 and 1848. He created several pen and ink drawings of Durham Castle. He is best known for the ‘Cuthbert Bede’ cartoons and comic novel ‘The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green’, which provide a vivid and often highly amusing snapshot of life in Victorian Universities.
The art collection also includes several sculptures in plaster, marble and even a bust in terracotta of King George II by esteemed sculptor John Rysbrack (1694-1770). Other sculptures include a bust of the Greek poet Sappho, several busts of local philanthropists, and a rare collection of miniature plaster panels of the Parthenon frieze by John Henning (1771-1851).
19th century oil painting of Revd. John Cundill in later life. John was the first student to register at Durham University.
Watercolour by the Revd. Edward Bradley showing the Tunstall Gallery in the 1840s.
An 18th century terracotta bust of King George II by John Rysbrack.