Ushaw is home to an important and diverse permanent collection of fine art and
During the nineteenth century, important objects were acquired for their aesthetic appeal or for their historical significance.
Others were purchased or donated to Ushaw to be used as teaching aids.
Many of our important paintings and sculptures are on permanent display within Main House and the Chapels. Other objects, when not on temporary display, are housed in secure store rooms.
Ushaw’s Library contains over 50,000 books together with a wealth of archive material relating to our history, architectural design and alumni.
Important holdings within the Library include the Nuremburg Chronicle of 1493, Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica and a first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.
Additionally, there are over 60 incunabula (books printed before 1501). Eamon Duffy, the historian, has described Ushaw’s literary holdings as ‘unquestionably the most important Catholic library in Britain.’
Image: Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514), Nuremburg Chronicle, 1493
Many of Ushaw’s finest paintings are on permanent display on the walls of Main
House’s central corridors, in the Parlour, the Refectory and in the Chapels.
Of particular note are the works by Franz von Rohden (1817-1903), all painted in Rome in the nineteenth century and a fine portrait of Ushaw President Charles Newsham by John Rogers Herbert (1810-1890).
This work is enclosed within a highly decorated frame designed by A.W.N Pugin.
Image: Franz von Rohden (1817-1903), The Crucifixion, 1852, oil on canvas
The majority of Ushaw’s significant sculptures were produced by Karl Hoffmann (1816-1872), colloquially known as the Sculptor of Ushaw.
In common with the paintings by von Rohden, the works were executed in Rome before being transported to Ushaw.
Works including Our Lady of Clemency and St Joseph with the Lily can be viewed in the Chapels.
Image: Karl Hoffmann (1816-1872), Our Lady of Help, 1855, marble
Ushaw’s collection of metalware includes chalices, patens, monstrances, reliquaries and sanctuary lamps.
One of the earliest pieces in the collection is a chalice designed for Pope Paul V who was in office from 1605 to 1621.
Also of interest is a mid-seventeenth century chalice used in clandestine Catholic services during the time the religion was outlawed in England.
The piece can be unscrewed into three separate components for ease of transportation.
Image: The Antwerp Monstrance, c.1670, silver
Ushaw has an extensive collection of vestments encompassing copes, dalmatics, chasubles and stoles, some of which continue to be worn during services.
Of great significance is the chasuble known as the Westminster Vestment, created between 1460 and 1490.
This finely embroidered textile piece is believed to have been in the wardrobe of Richard III.
Image: Westminster Vestment, 1460-1490
Science played an important role in the lives of the students at Ushaw.
In addition to the significant volumes held in the Library, a small collection of scientific instruments was also acquired.
A dedicated science laboratory, designed by Edward Welby Pugin was constructed to the north east of Main House in 1854.
This finely proportioned building can still be seen today.
Image: Orrery, 1794
Ushaw’s numerous chapels and the Refectory are lit with fine stained glass windows.
Of note is the magnificent and richly detailed Great West Window in the Antechapel.
Designed by A.W.N Pugin, this was originally the East Window in the first St Cuthbert’s Chapel.
The windows in the Chapel of St Charles Borromeo illustrate aspects of the saint’s life including an unsuccessful attempt on his life with a blunderbuss in 1569.
Images: Chapel of St Charles Borromeo, stained glass window, 1857-1859