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One of the world's greatest galleries of arts and antiques

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Ancient Rome & Greek Objects
Glass & Sculpture
New Courtyard Development
Sculpture Promenade
Silver & Textiles
The arts and antiques of the prestigious University of Cambridge are displayed in style in the Fitzwilliam Museum. Its impressive pillared front is a wonderful work of architecture in itself, but inside there are so many more masterpieces and antiquities to enjoy.

The fabulous museum building
Photo © Andrew Dunn (CC)

The grand entrance to the museum
In the Fitzwilliam Museum you will find items from all over the world, dating back literally thousands of years. There are five sections of the museum. These are; Antiquities, Applied Arts, Coins and Medals, Manuscripts and Printed Books, and Paintings, Drawings and Prints.
The founding collection of art from the 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam is where it all began, in 1816. He was an avid collector, who in his will also left 100,000 pounds towards the building of a museum to house all his pieces in. Now the museum has so much more added to its collections. Many of the pieces are on loan from different colleges of the University, just showing the wealth of art and ancient precious items Cambridge holds within its boundaries.

Lansdowne Antinous, Marble, Roman Imperial artwork, ca. 130-140 AD
Source WikiMedia (PD)
Particularly notable, are the Egyptian Galleries. These underwent a 1.5 million pound refurbishment and reopened in 2006. They house some mysterious and fascinating antiques, which are also the subject of research as well as enjoyment by the public. There are also masterpiece works of art by Rubens, Renoir, Rembrandt and Picasso. These are not to mention the 4 paintings by Claude Monet, the 8 by Thomas Gainsborough and the 5 by Anthony Van Dyck.

Did You Know?

The museum has many temporary exhibitions, including a Sculpture Promenade containing contemporary and modern pieces on the lawns of the Fitzwilliam. The expansive lawns and historic façade of the Museum provide a striking backdrop for the display of contemporary art, and many are conceived and fashioned in ways that respond to changes in light, weather and the seasons; here the effects of exposure to the elements are welcomed as part of the works’ dynamic and evolving character. Visitors are invited to walk amongst the sculptures and interact with them, touching is permitted!

The Sculpture Promenade
One of the museum’s paintings, a version of The Last of England, by Ford Madox Brown, was voted the 8th greatest painting in Britain in 2004. The Manuscripts and Printed Books department contains the world’s largest collection of Elizabethan music manuscripts. These date back to the 16th Century, written by some of the best composers of the time.

The Last of England by Ford Madox Brown (1855) depicting two emigrees leaving England to start a new life abroad
Source WikiMedia (PD)

Did You Know?

A legend says that on the stroke of midnight, the two stone lions outside the museum come to life and enjoy a drink of water from a nearby gutter!
You will also find medals and clocks, armour and rare printed books, oriental rugs and pottery, all of which are incredibly valuable. In fact, three rare vases, which had been in the museum since 1948, received severe damage in January 2006 from a visitor named Nick Flynn. Mr. Flynn was arrested shortly after the incident, but the charges were later dropped after it transpired that he had tripped over his shoelaces and fallen down a stairway into them - mind how you go!!
Visitor Information
The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm (Sunday 12noon to 5pm). Entrance is FREE. Tel: 01223 332 900

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