Over 500 portraits, including easel paintings, sculptured works, drawings, photographs, and prints.
The first portrait in the Library, the polychromed bust of Sir Thomas Bodley by an unknown artist, arrived in 1605. In successive centuries many more portraits arrived, by gift, by bequest, and, rarely, by purchase.
In 2010-11, the Public Catalogue Foundation made it possible for all Bodleian portraits in oils to be photographed in colour and digitized. These images first became accessible online in 2012 via the BBC’s Your Paintings website, which in 2016 became Art UK. A further 200 items have since been digitized, and all have had their descriptions updated thanks to a a generous grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
The digitized portraits include a series of 19 portraits of Oxford College founders executed c.1670; the sculpted head-stops which decorate the Old Schools Quadrangle of the library; and an early "grand tour" portrait recently attributed to Pompeo Batoni.