Jane Bown 1925-2014

Jane Bown was best known for her work as a portrait photographer for the Observer. Her signature style was black and white, using natural light to striking effect.

In 1992, Nuffield College commissioned her to take portraits of all its Fellows – these can be seen in the library tower and in the basement. The subject interests of the Fellows are matched with the subjects of the books on each floor so that sociologists can be found on the 4th floor, political scientists on the 5th & 6th floors and economists in the basement. Many of these Fellows are still at Nuffield.

There is a temporary exhibition of alternative portraits in the Current Affairs Room (1st floor of the Library) capturing our Fellows in more candid moments.

Jane Bown display in the Current Affairs Room

The Library has recently purchased a copy of “Exposures: Jane Bown”, a volume of some of her (non-Nuffield) work, see the book on SOLO.

It can be found in the Art Collection in the Current Affairs Room at the shelfmark Art.Bown.

Further reading:

Guardian obituary

A life in photography


About Nuffield College Library

We are a social sciences library serving Nuffield College and the University of Oxford
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