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UCL Art Museum has its origins as a teaching and research collection tied to the history of the UCL Slade School of Fine Art. The collections therefore present a unique archive of art education. As the Slade was the first school to admit women into the life room, a large number of works by women artists entered into this public collection, through the Slade prize system, as early as the 1890s.
International in scope, many art works relate to the history of teaching art in Britain and show stages in the creative process. Outstanding examples include: Van Dyck’s portraits of people of influence in his Iconographia, Turner’s annotated landscape prints, torn up sketches by Augustus John saved by his peers, artists’ anatomy albums, as well as drawings by artists such as John Flaxman, Henry Tonks and William Coldstream used for instruction.
The museum is situated in a traditional Print Room at the heart of UCL, its collections publicly accessible through temporary exhibitions and displays across the university campus. Under UCL’s dome in the library is The Flaxman Gallery, the pinnacle of a vast collection of art works by Flaxman, showcasing the artist’s plaster models in a unique architectural setting.