The oil painting collections at the University of Birmingham have grown from an original nucleus of commemorative portraits of founders and initial benefactors into an important group of works in which portraiture is complemented by contemporary painting. Notable works include Peter Lanyon’s 'Arts Faculty Mural' (1963) and the British School 'Abd el-Ouahed ben Messaoud ben Mohammed Anoun (b.1558), Moorish Ambassador to Queen Elizabeth I' (1600), considered to be the inspiration for Othello. The core of the collection of historic portraits began soon after the foundation of the University in 1900 when it commissioned portraits of distinguished University figures such as chancellors, vice-chancellors, benefactors and pioneering academics. More recent acquisitions have been driven by particular individuals, notably in the 1960s and 1970s when works by Peter Lanyon, Barbara Hepworth and William Gear were acquired. The collection is dispersed around the University campus and buildings, as well as being displayed throughout departments and indoor spaces. They include works with commemorative and emblematic purpose, which also enhance and enrich their surroundings.