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JCR Art Collection

JCR Crest

Pembroke was the first college in Oxford to have its own art gallery, and our collection now consists of over 250 pieces. Some of these pieces are available for rent for students’ rooms at the beginning of each term. The collection is still growing today and continues to support Pembroke students as well as the wider arts community.


Our Art Fund is used by the JCR to award hardship grants, to support student charitable ventures and to pay for ongoing costs of the gallery.​

A Bit of History​

The JCR Art Collection was established in 1947 by Anthony Emery, a mature undergraduate who came to Pembroke to read History following his return from WWI. While imprisoned during the war, Emery and some of his friends staged a parody of the infamous 1938 London International Surrealist Exhibition which had been Britain’s first taste of avant garde art. 

The exhibition and the artists involved were challenging and strange – Salvador Dali opened the exhibition by delivering a lecture in a full diving suit…According to Emery, the parody fell flat because only a very small handful of his fellow prisoners had even heard of Surrealism. The caused Emery to try to think of way to combat what he called ‘the ignorance of the majority about the art of their own time’.

This lead to his suggestion to the JCR at Pembroke to set up an art gallery. The fact that the JCR enthusiastically embraced Emery’s idea is almost as extraordinary as the idea itself. Students agreed to have £1 per term added to their battels in order to create a fund for the purchase of art – this at a time when money was extraordinarily scarce.

In 1997, the JCR decided to transform the Art Collection into a registered charity known as THE PEMBROKE COLLEGE JCR ART COLLECTION FUND. The Francis Bacon that was bought in 1953 for £150 was sold for £400,000 to endow the charity and facilitate its mission of relieving student hardship (hardship grants), supporting student charitable endeavours (our travel grants), acquiring new works of art, and maintaining the existing Collection.



The Collection
The JCR collection is still growing today, with pieces either being carefully selected and bought by the committee or generously donated by alumni and current students. We encourage students and the public to look around the gallery (address below), although we are also building an online Catalogue
Students are encouraged to check out the numerous art and photography competitions held throughout the year and get involved!


Instagram: @pembrokejcrart

Friends of Pembroke Art

The FOPA is a project launched by the Pembroke College JCR Art Fund to encourage an interest in art in the College by putting on events, workshops and trips every term.

Anyone can join! All you need is an interest in or a desire to know more about art. So whether you are a undergraduate student, graduate student, alumni, staff member or simply interested in the art collection at Pembroke, we'd love for you to get involved.

Checkout their blog or follow them on Facebook for more info (and a virtual look at the works!). Be sure to keep an eye out for emails with updates on arty events throughout the year! 

Pembroke JCR Art Fund

The Pembroke College JCR Art Fund serves to provide hardship and travel grants to students.  As the fund provides grants all year round there is no set amount or deadline for submission. All Pembroke undergraduates can apply at any point during or outside of term.


Applications are completely confidential and applicant identity will only be seen by the current Art Fund Treasurer.

Please note: the fund is not for persistent hardship. If you have a long-term financial problem, it is much better to speak to the Academic Office ( who will be able to advise you about various options such as the Oxford Opportunity Bursary or the Access to Learning Fund. The aim of this fund is for unexpected circumstances, such as an emergency trip home, broken laptop etc... 


Thanks to its establishment as a charity The Pembroke College JCR Art Fund Collection is now able to support students experiencing immediate hardship and provide funds for educational ventures.

Emery Prize

The Emery Prize is an annual prize award to a Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, BFA or MFA finalist student. It supports emerging artists within the Oxford University community and works to encourage engagement with contemporary art in the wider Oxford community. Named after the founder of the Pembroke College JCR Art Collection, The Emery Prize reinvents the collection’s historic links to the Ruskin School of Art, by finding new ways to support contemporary art practice through providing a platform for exhibition.


The prize is judged by the Pembroke College JCR Art Fund Collection Committee and is awarded based solely on merit of the artwork presented in the final degree show and portfolio, along with a written artist statement.

The prize awarded consists of:

  • A solo exhibition in the Pembroke College Gallery and/or through our digital channels 

  • Mentoring from the Curator about exhibition, selling and funding opportunities for emerging artists

  • The opportunity for an artist talk and public events

  • A cash prize 

The committee would like to thank the Ruskin School of Art for their support in running the Emery Prize. 

Pembroke College JCR Art Fund

5 Brewer Street





If you would like to arrange a visit to or tour of the gallery or wish to explore the collection for research or curatorial purposes please email us at 

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