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The main entrance to the Fitzwilliam Museum, facing Trumpington Street.
Saint Geminianus , from a pentaptych by Simone Martini (c.1284–1344).

The Fitzwilliam Museum is the art and antiquities museum of the University of Cambridge, located on Trumpington Street opposite Fitzwilliam Street in central Cambridge, England. It receives around 300,000 visitors annually.[1] Admission is free.

The museum was founded in 1816 with the bequest of the library and art collection of the 7th Viscount FitzWilliam. The bequest also included £100,000 "to cause to be erected a good substantial museum repository". The collection was initially placed in the old Perse School building in Free School Lane. It was moved in 1842 to the Old Schools (at that time the University Library). The "Founder's Building" itself was designed by George Basevi, completed by C. R. Cockerell and opened in 1848; the entrance hall is by Edward Middleton Barry and was completed in 1875. The first stone of the new building was laid by Gilbert Ainslie in 1837. A two story extension, paid for partly by the Courtauld family, was added in 1931 [2].

The Egyptian Galleries at the Fitzwilliam Museum reopened in 2006 after a two-year, £1.5 million programme of refurbishment, conservation and research.

Contents

Collection

The museum has five departments: Antiquities; Applied Arts; Coins and Medals; Manuscripts and Printed Books; and Paintings, Drawings and Prints.

Together these cover antiquities from Ancient Egypt, Sudan, Greece and Rome, Roman and Romano-Egyptian Art, Western Asiatic displays and a new gallery of Cypriot Art; applied arts, including English and European pottery and glass, furniture, clocks, fans, armour, Chinese, Japanese and Korean art, rugs and samplers; coins and medals; illuminated, literary and music manuscripts and rare printed books; paintings, including masterpieces by Simone Martini, Domenico Veneziano, Titian, Veronese, Rubens, Van Dyck, Frans Hals, Canaletto, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Constable, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne and Picasso and a fine collection of 20th century art; miniatures, drawings, watercolours and prints.

Many items in the museum are on loan from colleges of the University, for example an important group of impressionist paintings owned by King's College, which includes Cézanne's 'The Abduction' and a study for 'Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte' by Seurat.

The Museum's collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings includes a version of Ford Madox Brown's The Last of England, voted 8th greatest painting in Britain in 2005's Radio 4 poll, the Greatest Painting in Britain Vote.

There is also the largest collection of 16th century Elizabethan virginal manuscript music written by some of the most notable composers of the time. Composers such as William Byrd, Doctor John Bull, Orlando Gibbons and Thomas Tallis.

Collections

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Paintings

Anglo-American

Dutch School

English School

Flemish School

French School

German School

Italian School

Friends of Fitzwilliam

The "Friends of the Fitzwilliam", founded in 1909, is a society supporting the museum, the oldest in Britain. One of the longest serving members (1935 - 2003) was Denys Spittle, whose collection of manuscripts was exhibited in 2007 under the title "Private Pleasures: Illuminated manuscripts from Persia to Paris".

Directors

A Henry Moore sculpture outside the museum

References

External links

Coordinates: 52°12′01″N 0°07′10″E / 52.20028°N 0.11944°E / 52.20028; 0.11944


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