For the first time ever, all paintings in the Department of Western Art in the Ashmolean Museum have been brought together in one volume. Every picture is illustrated and almost all are represented in colour. Biographies of all kwn artists in the collection are also included, making this catalogue an invaluable reference work for specialist libraries, collectors and general readers alike. The Ashmolean Museum is based on two ancient University collections, the works of art from the Bodleian Library and the artefacts from the Old Ashmolean in Broad Street. The original Ashmolean was founded in 1683 while the Bodleian Picture Gallery, where the University at one time kept most of its artefacts and works of art, dates from about 1620. The Bodleian collection was t the first museum of its kind - libraries and scholars' cabinets had included coins, antiquities, exotic artefacts and portraits since the early 1500s - but, as a collection which has been accessible to the public for nearly four hundred years, first in the Bodleian and later in the Ashmolean, it constitutes the oldest surviving public museum in Britain and one of the oldest in existence.