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.
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
The night of longing: Love and desire in Japanese prints
- 1 October 2013 — 12 January 2014 *on now
An exhibition of Japanese woodcuts and books of the Edo and Meiji periods (18th and 19th centuries) depicting lovers from literature and life.
Images range from lovers yearning for absent partners and expressing their longing in letters and poems; dramatic scenes of thwarted or desperate lovers, sometimes on the verge of suicide; ‘risqué prints’ (abuna-e), with suggestions of eroticism or hints that sex is near at hand, through to more explicit images of sexual partners (shunga or ‘spring pictures’) and their contexts in erotic books; assignations in and around Edo (Tokyo) and the route to the pleasure quarter at night.
Artists include Harunobu, Utamaro, Hiroshige, Kunisada, Kuniyoshi and Yoshitoshi. The exhibition is based on the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum and is designed to complement the exhibition at the British Museum Shunga: Sex and pleasure in Japanese Art (3 October 2013 – 5 January 2014)
- Not suitable for children
Edmund de Waal: On White – Porcelain stories from the Fitzwilliam
- 29 November 2013 — 23 February 2014 *on now
This unique exhibition sees three galleries of the Fitzwilliam Museum taken over by renowned potter, and Cambridge graduate, Edmund de Waal. The re-curated spaces feature objects from de Waal’s residency in China last summer, pieces from the museum’s permanent collection, poetry, photographs and letters. Highlights include two major installations.
The first of these, a thousand hours, is one of de Waal’s most ambitious to date and was the centrepiece of a major exhibition at the Alan Cristea Gallery in London. The work comprises 1,000 pots encased in two large walk-through vitrines. A second featured work has been specially commissioned for this show.
Galleries 33, 26 & 28.
- Any age
A world of private mystery: John Craxton, RA (1922 -2009)
- 2 December 2013 — 21 April 2014 *on now
The major exhibition this winter at the Fitzwilliam Museum celebrates the life and career of 20th century British artist John Craxton. A world of private mystery traces his development as an artist, both through his travels, later life in Crete and the influence of other major artists during his lifetime.
'The willow trees are nice and amazing, but I would prefer an olive tree growing out of a Greek ruin,' John Craxton in Cambridge 1943
- Any age