From Egyptian coffins to Impressionist masterpieces – the Fitzwilliam Museum’s world-class collections of art and antiquities span centuries and civilizations.
Closed Mon (except Bank Holidays when open 12.00-17.00) Closed Good Friday; 24,25,26 & 31 Dec and 1 Jan.
The Fitzwilliam Museum has magnificent permanent collections of international importance. The entire collection is a Designated Collection of national importance.
Holdings include antiquities from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome; English and European pottery and glass; furniture, clocks, fans and armour, coins, medals, illuminated, literary and music manuscripts and rare printed books; paintings, including masterpieces by Simone Martini, Domenico Veneziano, Veronese, Titian, Rubens, Hals, Van Dyck, Canaletto, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Constable, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Monet and Picasso, portrait miniatures and 20th century art, and changing displays of drawings, watercolours and prints. The collections also include artefacts from Sudan and Cyprus, and Chinese, Japanese and Korean art, rugs and samplers.
Founded in 1816, the Museum is housed in splendid buildings, the first of which, designed by George Basevi opened in 1848.
Items from this collection
Weapons and War, Music, Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Coins and Medals, Archaeology
Key artists and exhibits
- Ancient Egypt, Sudan
- Greece and Rome
- Roman and Romano-Egyptian Art
- Western Asiatic displays and Cypriot Art
- English and European pottery and glass, furniture, clocks, fans, armour
- Chinese, Japanese and Korean art
- Simone Martini, Domenico Veneziano, Titian, Veronese, Rubens, Van Dyck, Hals, Canaletto, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Constable, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne and Picasso
- Designated Collection
Highlights from Kettle’s Yard
- 14 August 2015 — 30 April 2016 *on now
See a slice of Kettle’s Yard’s unique collection of modern art, natural objects and furniture recreated in the Fitzwilliam Museum.
Kettle’s Yard house and gallery is currently closed for a major building project.
In the first of two displays, key arrangements from Kettle’s Yard’s house will be re-created in the Glaisher Gallery.
These groupings of art works and other objects reflect the founder of Kettle’s Yard, Jim Ede’s belief in the importance of creating balance in spaces to enhance the beauty of the works of art and objects that they contain.
Paintings and sculptures by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Ben Nicholson, Alfred Wallis, Joan Miró and Christopher Wood will be on display.
- Family friendly
Henry Moore’s Hill Arches (1973)
- 1 February 2016 — 30 November 2017 *on now
For the next two years a monumental bronze sculpture by Henry Moore, titled Hill Arches, will be on loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum from the Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire.
Moore is best known for sculptures of the human figure sited in architectural or natural settings, but here he has created a landscape in its own right - perhaps, as the title suggests, an echo of the rolling hills of his native Yorkshire.
This enormous, four piece sculpture will be sited in front of the Museum, visible to all visitors and those walking down Trumpington Street.
- Family friendly
Encounters: Money in the age of discovery
- 2 February — 29 May 2016 *on now
Between the 15th and 18th centuries the riches of new worlds in the Americas, Africa and the Indian Ocean saw Spanish, Portuguese, British and French explorers and adventurers venture to new continents in search of new lands and wealth. The objects in this display illustrate the fundamental changes that occurred in this period of European expansion, which paved the way for the modern global economy.
- Family friendly
Crawling with Life: Flower drawings from the Henry Rogers Broughton Bequest
- 2 February — 8 May 2016 *on now
Spiders, snails, beetles, butterflies, moths, frogs and lizards are just some of the living creatures painted amongst the flowers in the Museum’s botanical paintings and drawings.
See superb watercolours by the intrepid 17th century German naturalist and illustrator, Maria Sibylla Merian and her tutor Jacob Marrel, as well as works by the Dutch artist Jan van Huysum and members of the Dietzsch family. These are accompanied by studies of carnivorous plants and those designed to attract insects through mimicry or putrid smells, painted by the German born scientist and illustrator Georg Dionysius Ehret and the French artist and engraver Nicolas Robert.
Celebrating the First 200 Years: The Fitzwilliam Museum 1816 - 2016
- 4 February — 30 December 2016 *on now
Running throughout 2016, this exhibition will explore the Fitzwilliam’s past, present and future. A timeline of the first 200 years will introduce key themes and characters, while displays of objects will show how the collections have developed over two centuries.
The exhibition runs alongside a new book The Fitzwilliam Museum: A History. For the very first time, this will tell the full 200 year story of the Museum. The triumphs and challenges of successive Directors, the changing nature of the Museum’s relationship with its parent University, and its dogged survival through the two World Wars. It will also shed light on the colourful, but previously little-known, personal life of Viscount Fitzwilliam himself.
- Family friendly
1816: Prints by Turner, Goya and Cornelius
- 9 February — 31 July 2016
A look across Europe at three series of prints by major artists published in 1816, the year of the founding of the Fitzwilliam.
The period was known as ‘The year without a summer’ due to the after-effects of the 1815 volcano eruption in Indonesia. Global cooling, volcanic ash, darkness, crop failures, food riots and spectacular sunsets influenced artists and writers of the time. A variety of responses can be seen here with Goya’s Tauromaquia, books eleven and twelve of Turner’s Liber Studiorum, and Peter Cornelius’s large-scale Illustrations to Goethe’s Faust.
Death on the Nile: Uncovering the afterlife of ancient Egypt
- 23 February — 22 May 2016
The first major exhibition for the Fitzwilliam’s 2016 bicentenary celebrations goes beyond the images of mummies, pharaohs and mystery often associated with ancient Egypt. It shows how coffin design developed over 4,000 years, reflecting significant changes both in the status of affluent ancient Egyptians and in the gods that were important to them.
Discover how these remarkable objects were constructed and what this information can reveal about the craftsmen who made coffins and the clients who commissioned and bought them. A ‘live’ conservation area in the exhibition will provide visitors with a unique insight into the science used to examine the objects on display.
Exhibition eGuides are available for a small fee from both Museum entrances and the exhibition gallery landing.
- Family friendly