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PhD and MA students frequently apply to study our collections. Please contact the Curator for more information.

Old Speech Room Gallery

The Old Speech Room was completed in 1820 and used as a space where boys could learn the art of public speaking. In 1976, it was converted into a Gallery - a safe repository for the School's distinguished collection of antiquities and fine art.

A professional curatorial team manages the collections in accordance with best museum practice under the direction of the Curator. There is an ongoing programme of conservation and collections care, as well as a loans scheme. In the OSRG Arts Society, Harrovians can learn about object handling, conservation, documentation and collections care; help to research, design, curate and advertise exhibitions; and enjoy regular visits to major art collections in and around London. To see examples of some of the 19th-century watercolours held in the OSRG collection please visit Watercolour World.

Key Collections

Recent Gifts and Acquisitions

  • Greek, Etruscan, Roman and Egyptian antiquities
  • 19th-century English and European watercolours, prints and engravings
  • 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century oil paintings and sculpture
  • 19th-century Japanese prints, Chinese ceramics and sculpture
  • Manuscripts, rare Bibles and early printed books
  • Coins, medals and stamps
  • Photographs by Beaton and Lichfield
  • Natural history
  • Cruden’s Concordance of the Old and New Testaments, 1738
  • The Fellows’ Garden, Exeter College, 1986, watercolour by Valerie Petts
  • Leavers’, 1991, a montage of Harrow Leavers’ cards by OH Jeremy Cooper
  • View of Old Schools and the War Memorial Building, c.1925 engraving by Wallace Hester
  • The cricket ground at Harrow, engraving by H Sargent
  • The signal station, 1887, watercolour by Thomas Bush Hardy
  • Visit with Winston Churchill, c.1970, signed lithograph by Sarah Churchill
  • The Highgrove Florilegium, 2008, compiled for Prince Charles by OH Richard Shirley Smith (The Knoll, 1949)
  • Anti-Slavery Convention Medal depicting Thomas Clarkson, 1840

Exhibitions

Apart from significant artworks of the 19th and 20th centuries, permanent displays include Greek vases and Old Harrovian subjects such as Lord Byron, Admiral Sir Edward Codrington and Sir Winston Churchill. These are primarily used for teaching.

As not all parts of the collection can be displayed at the same time, the Gallery runs a termly programme of temporary exhibitions. Recent subjects include From Reynolds to Matisse: Treasures of the OSRG CollectionThe Muse and the Maker: a Celebration of Women on the Hill and the major exhibition for the Harrow 450 programme: Harrow 1572-2022.

The following exhibition is running this term:

The Traveller: From Oceania to Outer Space - four thousand years of journeying and exploration

Stories of distant lands and unfamiliar customs have always been a source of fascination, and accounts of pioneering expeditions capture the imagination even today. This term’s exhibition brings together a wealth of objects, artworks, maps and early printed volumes from Africa, the Americas, Antarctica, Asia, Oceania and Europe, all illustrating remote places and societies that travellers have revealed to us. Old Harrovians feature not only as travellers in their own right but also as donors of the historic artefacts in the display. Exhibitions in the OSRG are drawn mainly from the School’s collections but this term include several items on loan from current Harrovians as well as staff and Harrow families.

Spring Term Opening Hours

The gallery is open to the public between 2.30-5pm on the following days: 18, 19 (2.30-6.15pm), 25 and 26 April; 7, 9 10, 14, 16, 17 (3.30-5pm), 21 and 23 May; 25 May (Speech Day 10am-1pm and 2-4pm); 4, 7, 11, 14 (3.30-5pm), 15 (1.30-4.30pm) and 18 June.