Lady Margaret Hall has replaced portraits of male Oxford dons with prominent female alumni in a drive to end the “monopoly of portraits of men”. Nigella Lawson, celebrity chef and food writer who graduated Oxford with a degree in modern and medieval languages, is one LMH alumna whose portrait is being showcased at the college.
Portraits of other notable female figures also on display in LMH’s Deneke Corridor include Eliza Manningham-Buller, former director general of MI5; Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan; and Dame Margaret Turner Warwick, the first female president of the Royal College of Physicians.
A number of portraits of college tutors have been moved from Deneke Corridor to Talbot Hall.
In March, a four-month refurbishment of Deneke Corridor was finished with the hanging of LMH alumni portraits. The college’s website says: “The forty or so portraits, biographical notes and displays of publishing and similar achievements all add up to give a wonderful sense of the great variety of former students who were partly shaped by their time within the walls of LMH, and who have gone on to lead lives of distinction.”
Principal of LMH, journalist Alan Rusbridger, commented: “Some colleges have got fed up with portraits of distinguished old blokes.
“They have taken them off the walls and replace them with women. But women’s colleges don’t have that problem.”
LMH was founded in 1878 as the University’s first all-women’s college, admitting men from 1979.
Rusbridger added: “The corridor before had lots of pictures of very distinguished tutors, we found another place we can hang them.”