Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge

Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge | paintings in chronological order

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Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge

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. Admission is free.

The museum is the lead museum for the University of Cambridge Museums consortium, one of 16 Major Partner Museum services funded by Arts Council England to lead the development of the museums sector.

The museum was founded in 1816 with the legacy 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 further large bequest was made to the University in 1912 by Charles Brinsley Marlay, including a sum of £80,000 and a collection of 84 pictures. A two-storey extension, paid for partly by the Courtauld family, was added in 1931.

The Museum building was opened to the public in 1848 and since then the Fitzwilliam has continued to grow both in size and collections. Today the Museum has one of the finest collections of paintings, drawings and prints in Britain, with famous works by Rubens, Breughel, Constable, Monet and Picasso to name but a few.

It is also known for its remarkable collections from the ancient world, with artefacts from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Cyprus and the ancient near east.


Throughout the museum there are significant collections of oriental art, illuminated manuscripts, and outstanding collections of applied arts, pottery, porcelain and medieval coins.

The museum has a particularly extensive collection of Turner, which has its origins in a set of 25 watercolour drawings donated to the university by John Ruskin in 1861.[5] Sir Sydney Cockerell, who was serving as director of the museum at the time, went on to acquire a further eight Turner watercolours and some of his writings.

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 eighth-greatest painting in Britain in 2005’s Radio 4 poll, the Greatest Painting in Britain Vote.

Most importantly, the Museum is still very much a part of the University and, as well as playing a big part for the University’s research for the arts, remains free for anyone to visit and enjoy.


Trumpington Street

Tel: 01223 332900

Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 17:00
Sunday 12:00 17:00

Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge | paintings in chronological order

1876 – 1900

Sir- Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 94 degrees in the shade, 1876

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