Paintings & Drawings


Most of CH’s art collection is  directly relevant to the history of the school and has, for centuries, been on display in the school’s main buildings. Many of the early paintings are portraits of founders, benefactors, officers and staff or are scenes which commemorate key events in the school’s history.  It has long been a tradition, which continues to this day, that portraits are commissioned to celebrate the terms of office of Treasurers, Head Masters and Head Mistresses. Portraits have also been painted of many celebrated Old Blues.

Most prominent amongst the collection of paintings at CH is that by Antonio Verrio (c1639-1707) which commemorates the foundation of the Royal Mathematical School in 1673. The painting is one of the largest in the World, measuring about 26 metres by five metres and taking six years to complete (1684 to 1690).  It was commissioned by Samuel Pepys for a sum of £300 (about £40,000 in today’s values). Known, simply, as The Verrio, it has been a dominant feature in the Dining Hall at Horsham and its two predecessor Great Halls in London for 325 years and, along with an extensive collection of the Hospital’s greatest servants and benefactors, has long watched over generations of pupils and staff as they dined.

The Chapel is home to 16 murals painted by Frank Brangwyn between 1913 and 1923, each of which depicts an incident in the history of the Christian Church. All except two of the paintings measure 14 by 8 feet, the other two being slightly smaller. Brangwyn gave CH cartoons of 7 of the murals, which are in the collection.

The Court Room at Horsham, adorned for 100 years by a fine collection of paintings, was modelled on its London counterpart, which housed a similar collection, and paintings illuminate the Mellstrom careers centre, the Counting House and other buildings around the school which are in everyday use.  On the left is a painting of Queen Victoria by Sir Francis Grant, which was commissioned to commemorate Her Majesty’s visit to CH in 1845 and now hangs in the Dining Hall.

The Museum exhibits a varied collection of views of the buildings in London and Hertford, as well as paintings which reflect everyday life in the school, including many portraits of boys and girls in their CH uniforms. The museum also holds a collection of modern and contemporary art by former CH staff and by former pupils, including works by Nell Todd, Donald Towner, Keith Vaughan, Keith Douglas, Philip Youngman Carter and Benedict Rubbra.