Fitzwilliam Museum

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From Egyptian coffins to Impressionist masterpieces – the Fitzwilliam Museum’s world-class collections of art and antiquities span centuries and civilizations.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Tues-Sat 1000-1700
Sun 1200-1700

Closed Mon (except Bank Holidays when open 12.00-17.00) Closed Good Friday; 24,25,26 & 31 Dec and 1 Jan.

Admission charges


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

Collection details

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
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

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.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Take Two: Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus and Perspective II, Manet’s Balcony

  • 16 September — 13 December 2015 *on now

Acquired by the Ashmolean Museum in 2012, Édouard Manet’s magnificent portrait of Mademoiselle Claus will be displayed at the Fitzwilliam Museum, alongside René Magritte‘s surrealist masterpiece, Perspective II, Manet’s Balcony (1950), generously on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent.

Once owned by the painter John Singer Sargent, Manet’s painting is a first idea for his famous painting The Balcony (1868-9, Musée d’Orsay, Paris), itself inspired by Goya’s Majas on a Balcony of 1810 (Metropolitan Museum, New York). The portrait’s subject is Fanny Claus (1846-77), a concert violinist and one of the artist’s favourite sitters. She died of tuberculosis at the age of 30.

Magritte’s painting wittily reinterprets Manet’s finished painting by substituting the three sitters, including Fanny Claus, with coffins.

Supported by a grant of £5.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and £850,000 from the Art Fund, the acquisition of Manet’s portrait of Fanny Claus was the most significant in the Ashmolean’s history.

Both paintings are on display in the Museum’s Impressionist gallery (Gallery 5).

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Untitled Hercules Figurine

Following Hercules: The story of classical art

  • 25 September — 6 December 2015 *on now

Hercules, one of the best loved heroes from ancient Greece. Known in antiquity for completing twelve tasks or ‘labours’ that confirmed his status as a god, Hercules is today tasked with one more - to show visitors to the Fitzwilliam how sculptures made in the Mediterranean millennia ago came to define western art. Hercules inhabits each of the forty objects on display, ranging from exquisite miniatures and Renaissance prints, drawings and paintings, to Wedgwood cameos and a giant polystyrene statue. The result is an arresting visual experience of differing scales, styles and material, which gives ongoing meaning to the ‘classical’.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Power and Resistance in pre- and early Roman Italy

  • 6 October — 29 November 2015 *on now

A display exploring how Greek colonies changed the life and languages of the native peoples of ancient Italy.

In the course of the first millennium BC Greek sailors, traders and colonists visited and settled in the Italian peninsula in increasing numbers. So much so, that the southern half of Italy became known as ‘Big Greece’ (Magna Graecia). Greeks brought with them new ways of living, urban spaces, grape cultivation and wine making and the knowledge of writing. Some cities of Italy, including Naples, Rhegium and Tarentum, remained essentially Greek under Roman rule. See some of the rich finds from southern Italy in the Fitzwilliam collection, and learn how they can be used to tell the story of power and resistance in the ancient world.

Part of the Faculty of Classics Greek in Italy project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This display also forms of the Festival of Ideas.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


1939-1945: World at War

  • 6 October 2015 — 31 January 2016 *on now

Banknotes and coins reveal little known aspects of World War II. Germany and the Allies issued emergency currencies for the parts of Europe under their control. Japan did the same in the Pacific. Prisoner of War camps had their own money, and forgeries of Bank of England notes were made in German concentration camps. See this currency for yourself and learn about rampant inflation as the nations at war struggled to pay for the conflict.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


'A sphere projecting against a a plane' by James Gillray 1792

Cradled in Caricature: Visual humour in satirical prints and drawings

  • 13 October 2015 — 31 January 2016 *on now

This exhibition looks at the methods used by British artists from James Gillray to Glen Baxter to amuse and entertain, ranging from the simple exaggeration of facial features and burlesque comedy, to more complicated word-play and ironic literary allusions. Often the intention was to raise a laugh, but in some cases humour is merged with satire to convey a more serious message or moral lesson on the dangers of excess. Works in the show are drawn from the Fitzwilliam’s collection with key loans from Andrew Edmunds and Benjamin Lemer.

Suitable for

  • Any age
Molesworth 1999, Ronald Searle

Ronald Searle: 'Obsessed with drawing'

  • 13 October 2015 — 31 January 2016 *on now

Cambridge-born Ronald Searle (1920-2011) is among Britain's most popular and celebrated graphic satirists, known for his fictional girls’ school St. Trinian’s and his collaborations on Geoffrey Willans’ Molesworth series. Searle had a long and productive career in a range of genres, working as a war artist, but also making drawings for book and magazine illustration, travel reportage, theatre, film, medals and political caricature. Searle’s visits to the Fitzwilliam during his formative years solidified his sense of place in the history of caricature – a complementary exhibition of the caricaturists he most admired will also be on display.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Fitzwilliam Museum
Trumpington Street




01223 332900


01223 332923

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