The Ashmolean Museum

Oxford Colleges and Museums:

Loans in North America

Pieces from the vast collections of Oxford Colleges, Libraries and Museums are often loaned to museums around the world. Here are some pieces you can see in North America. Please note that some loans are subject to change without notice, and that our office attempts to keep this information as accurate and up-to-date as possible.

Thomas Cole's Journey:
Atlantic Crossings

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
30 January 2018 through 13 May 2018

This exhibition will establish Thomas Cole as a major artist of the 19th century within a global context. The artist's most iconic works, including The Oxbow (1836) and his five-part series The Course of Empire (1834–36) will be presented for the first time as a direct outcome of his transatlantic career. Consummate works by J.M.W. Turner and John Constable, among others, will reveal Cole's engagement with European art, while masterworks by Asher B. Durand and Frederic E. Church will demonstrate Cole's extraordinary legacy in establishing a school of 19th-century landscape art in America.

One item from the Ashmolean's collection, George Jones, Interior of Turner’s Gallery: the Artist Showing his Works (pictured above), will be included in this exhibition. 

Tolkien’s watercolour illustration for the opening of chapter 6, The Hobbit, ‘Bilbo woke up with the early sun in his eyes’, [1937] Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Tolkien Drawings 28 (c) The Tolkien Estate Limited 1937

J.R.R. Tolkien: Treasures

Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, CA
6-8 April 2018

In the summer of 2018 the Bodleian Library will hold a major exhibition to explore the full breadth of the creative genius of J.R.R. Tolkien; artist, poet, medievalist, philologist and creator of Middle-earth. The Bodleian Libraries houses the largest collection of original Tolkien manuscripts and drawings in the world, and the Tolkien Archive has been kept at the Bodleian since 1979. Eight of his original artworks will also form the centre-piece of the 2018 Reunion of Oxford Alumni at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, including five beautiful watercolours, painted especially for the first American edition of The Hobbit, as well as the dust jacket design, and a printed map of Middle-earth, annotated by Tolkien and his illustrator Pauline Baynes, acquired by the Bodleian in 2016.

WA1927.1 Francesco Guardi, A Night Procession in the Piazza San Marco, c. 1755. Image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.

Eyewitness Views:
Making History

The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
25 February 2018 through 20 May 2018

From Paris to Madrid and Vienna to London, from the Doge's Palace to St. Peter’s Square, Europe’s most iconic cities and monuments have played host to magnificent ceremonies. During the golden age of view painting in the eighteenth century, princes, popes, and ambassadors commissioned artists such as Canaletto and Panini to record memorable moments ranging from the Venetian carnival to an eruption of Vesuvius. This first-ever exhibition focusing on views of historic events includes more than fifty spectacular paintings—many never seen before in America—from an international array of lenders. Turning the beholder into an eyewitness on the scene, these works bring the spectacle and drama of the past to life.

One object from the Ashmolean Museum will be on display in this exhibition, Franceso Guardi's A Night Procession in the Piazza San Marco, shown above.

The Paston Treasure:
Microcosm of the Known World

Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT

15 February through 27 May 2018

The Paston Treasure is the title of an enigmatic painting which now belongs to the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery: it dates from around the 1660s and depicts a rich selection of items from the collection of the Paston Family. An exhibition and detailed exploration of the painting and items depicted is planned for two venues, first at New Haven and later in the year at Norwich, in collaboration with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London. At the forefront of the painting is a young woman with a music-book, open at part of a piece which was recently identified as Robert Ramsey’s dialogue ‘Charon, O Charon’. The complete piece survives otherwise only in the Bodleian manuscript MS. Don. c. 57, which (whilst not the actual song-book depicted) is thus of central importance for the interpretation of the painting. 

Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and
Legacy in the Ancient Americas

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
26 February through 28 May 2018

Golden Kingdoms will cover the development of luxury arts and the cultural meanings of materials in the pre-Columbian Americas, and will go on to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in early 2018. The Bodleian is lending ‘Codex Mendoza’, an illustrated codex which includes a history of the Aztec empire, tribute-list of Moctezuma II, and illustrated account of Aztec life-cycles, Mexico, early 1540s. The manuscript was prepared by native artists and a Spanish commentator on the orders of the first Viceroy for Charles V, as an account of his new realm.

The North American Office team