The Fitzwilliam Museum houses world-class collections of works of art and antiquities spanning centuries and civilisations.
Highlights include masterpieces of painting from the fourteenth century to the present day, drawings and prints, sculpture, furniture, armour, pottery and glass, oriental art, illuminated manuscripts, coins and medals and antiquities from Egypt, the Ancient Near East, Greece, Rome and Cyprus.
The Fitzwilliam Museum was described by the Standing Commission on Museums & Galleries in 1968 as "one of the greatest art collections of the nation and a monument of the first importance". It owes its foundation to Richard, VII Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion who, in 1816, bequeathed to the University of Cambridge his works of art and library, together with funds to house them, to further "the Increase of Learning and other great Objects of that Noble Foundation".
Fitzwilliam's bequest included 144 pictures, among them Dutch paintings he inherited through his maternal grandfather and the masterpieces by Titian, Veronese and Palma Vecchio he acquired at the Orléans sales in London. During a lifetime of collecting, he filled more than 500 folio albums with engravings, to form what has been described as "a vast assembly of prints by the most celebrated engravers, with a series of Rembrandt's etchings unsurpassed in England at that time". His library included 130 medieval manuscripts and a collection of autograph music by Handel, Purcell and other composers which has guaranteed the Museum a place of prominence among the music libraries of the world.
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Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 to 5pm, Sundays from 12, closed Mondays.
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