A Philanthropic Spirit

This exhibition, running across Level 4 Gallery and the Special Collections Gallery, considered both the act of philanthropy and the work of individual philanthropists. It also featured, in this centenary year for the Highfield campus, material on the impact of philanthropy on the development of the University.

Level 4 was transformed, with a display of portraits of University benefactors, taken  from the University Fine Art Collection and the Special Collections. Alongside these was a collection of photographic prints of some of the more recent benefactors—many of them gained their degrees here and have continued to give their support to the University .

Henry Robinson Hartley (1777-1850) Founder Benefactor of the Hartley Institution, whose will called for the provision of a Library and made available the money for the initial accommodation and purchases.


Claude Joseph Goldsmid Montefiore 1858-1938 (formerly President of the University College of Southampton). An ongoing supporter of the University throughout its development through donations of land, funds and books for the Library.


Emeritus Professor P Ford (1894-1983) and Dr Grace Ford (1896-1981) Gift of manuscript material relating to the Hansard family and the Ford Collection of Parliamentary Papers.


The display in the Special Collections Gallery asked the question ‘What do we mean by philanthropy?’ This was answered through the positioning of objects—including books, documents, photographs and theatrical ephemera— from the University’s Special Collections, within five groupings:

Ideas of philanthropy
A philanthropic purpose
Philanthropists in action
Lady Swaythling as a philanthropist

Photograph of Lady Swaythling, from her Red Cross card (1940)


The exhibition ran from  7th  October through to 6th December 2019.


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