The New Hall Art Collection, consisting solely of work by women artists, has evolved through gifts and loans from artists and alumnae since 1986. It is a growing body of approximately 400 works and is the most significant collection of its kind in Europe. The works are displayed in the Grade II* surroundings of Murray Edwards College (Chamberlain, Powell & Bon, 1960). The Collection is of international, national and regional interest as a base for the study of works by women, enabling viewers to trace movements in art in a variety of media over more than 50 years, a period during which women have achieved unprecedented prominence in the visual arts. Prestigious artists such as Maggi Hambling CBE, Dame Paula Rego and Judy Chicago have donated works but this is not a closed Collection.
Murray Edwards College's role as a women's college and its sympathetic setting for contemporary art were determining factors in the establishment of a collection of work by women, a decision not based on assumptions that art is a gendered activity. The calibre of works received, the support of the artists, public and media interest and rich cultural content - in short, unexpected success and dynamism despite very limited resources - have prompted recognition of its growing heritage and cultural significance in its own right.