Fitzwilliam Museum

Covering everything from sculpture, antiquities from across the ancient world, fine and applied arts, manuscripts and coins, the Fitzwilliam, which celebrates its bicentenary in 2016, has been hailed as 'the finest small museum in Europe'.

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge © Fitzwilliam Museum

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Its diverse, high-quality collections are supplemented by regular temporary exhibitions as well as the outdoor sculpture gallery. Founded in 1816, the museum is housed in the Grade I listed Founder's Building - an imposing temple-like structure in the Neoclassical style.

Permanent collections

The Fitzwilliam's collection of paintings, drawings and prints extends from the 13th century to the present day, featuring works from Europe, America and Asia. The print collection is particularly strong in Northern European works as well as Japanese woodblocks. The Italian Renaissance painting collection features some superlative Venetian pictures, and other highlights include portraits by Van Dyck, Hals and Gainsborough, as well as many Turner watercolours.

A fine collection of 19th- and 20th-century European art, including works by Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, Sickert and Picasso, is housed in Gallery 1. The museum's Egyptian galleries are regarded as some of the most important in Britain. The Greek and Roman galleries extend from the Neolithic to the Hellenistic periods and contain a fine collection of Athenian patterned vases and funerary monuments.

Featuring some 20,000 pieces of decorative art from across Europe, India and Asia, the Applied Arts collections are some of the museum's most diverse, encompassing weaponry and armour, ceramics and porcelain, clocks, textiles and sculptures in jade and bronze. The Manuscripts and Printed Books galleries feature not only rare texts from the medieval period to the 20th century, but also the archives and correspondence of authors, composers and artists.

Art Funded works

Renoir's La Place Clichy presents a charming and apparently spontaneous impression of Parisian life. It is easy to see from this picture why one commentator described the artist as 'the true painter of young women, the bloom of whose skin, velvet flesh, darting eye, and elegant finery, he renders with sunlit gaiety.'

The 14th-century Macclesfield Psalter contains delightfully surreal marginal illustrations, including a dog dressed as a bishop, a rabbit riding a hound, and a series of grotesque figures with faces in their bottoms and legs emerging from their shoulders.

Visitor information

A unique visitor feature at the Fitzwilliam for those interested in the visual arts is the Reference Library. Open to everyone, it offers access to more than 300,000 books, journals and periodicals relating to art, design and antiquities. The Fitzwilliam's bright, modern café is situated within the covered courtyard of the museum, and serves hot and cold meals throughout the day.

Art we've helped buy at Fitzwilliam Museum

Venue details

Fitzwilliam Museum Trumpington Street, Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 1RB 01223 332900

Entry details

Free entry to all
Free exhibitions to all

Tue – Sat, 10am – 5pm
Sun & Bank Holidays 12noon – 5pm

Closed Mon, 24 – 26, 31 Dec and 1 Jan