Changing faces

19th September 2016

News, Student news, Alumni news

No longer will Dorothy Wadham be the sole woman who looks out from the wall of Wadham’s early seventeenth century dining hall.

  • Monica Ali; Tao Tao Liu ; Rosamund Pike; Sandra Fredman

    Monica Ali; Tao Tao Liu ; Rosamund Pike; Sandra Fredman


Four new portraits by acclaimed photographer Michael Birt have been unveiled in Hall this week.  

The stunning portraits, featuring author Monica Ali (PPE, 1986), actor Rosamund Pike (English, 1997), Professor Sandra Fredman (Law, 1979) and Emeritus Fellow Tao Tao Liu (Senior Research Fellow in Chinese 1986–90; Tutor in Chinese 1990–2009) have be hung in Hall ready for the start of the new academic year.

Warden Ken Macdonald QC has led this project to showcase a more balanced selection of images of Wadham’s alumni and fellows across the College site: “We felt it was time to portray some of Wadham’s most distinguished women in Hall, alongside those grand figures from Wadham’s past that have graced our walls for so long.   These extraordinary new portraits will provide our students with inspirational images to reflect more fully our College in this new century."

Photographer Michael Birt was commissioned to photograph the subjects who were chosen following nominations from staff, students and alumni.

Michael commented: “My daughter Cécile studied at Wadham. I journeyed regularly to see her over four years and I was always struck by its history, friendliness and beauty. It has been heartening to reengage with the College in a professional capacity. The commission was a real source of pleasure. Producing a series of portraits that would look strong but also feel appropriate in Hall alongside paintings of eminent Fellows, was challenging. I made many visual references, predominately Pre-Raphaelite paintings and the work of photographers Edward Steichen and Irving Penn from the 30’s and 40’s. I am looking forward to seeing the work hang in Hall.”

These portraits follow an earlier commission of nine portraits taken by Sophia Spring which went up in in various locations across College over the course of the last academic year. The hanging of the portraits has been overseen by Wadham Fellow, Dr Stephen Goss.

More about Michael Birt