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The Ashmolean Museum
The Ashmolean Museum first opened its doors in 1683 to display to the public the collection Elias Ashmole (1617-92) had bequeathed to the University of Oxford. Curiosities and specimens, both natural and man-made, had been collected by royal gardener and traveller, John Tradescant, and had grown into a major resource before passing to Ashmole by deed of gift. The following centuries saw acquisitions, benefactions, and mergers of collections, most notably in 1908 when the University Art Collection was combined with the original museum's archaeological holdings, to create the Ashmolean as it is today. It now houses a unique mix of thousands of objects, photographs, drawings and paintings, covering almost the entire span of human history from antiquity to the 20th century. Among its numerous treasures are paintings by J.M.W. Turner, the Pre-Raphaelites and the Impressionists, while portraits of eminent personalities from history include those of Flora Macdonald and Thomas Carlyle. Building on the Tradescant legacy of collecting overseas, the museum also owns a vast collection of Eastern Art including Islamic pottery, Japanese prints and exquisite 19th century Indian paintings. Standout objects include the Anglo-Saxon Alfred Jewel, the death mask of Oliver Cromwell and a pair of fine white leather gloves owned by Queen Elizabeth I. Mary Evans Picture Library are pleased to offer not only the Ashmolean fine art images but also a full range of pictures visually representing the rest of this fascinating museum.