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From silks to silverware, shoes to snuffboxes, each of the 300 objects on display was once a treasured possession.

Over the past hundred years, our relationship with our possessions has undergone a transformation. Will Self captured this in the title and epigraph to his novel Umbrella – an item that was once the preserve of kings and high fashion, crafted from gold and decorated by master craftsman, has today been reduced to something forgotten on public transport, discarded in bins.

Even our most expensive possessions, from mobile phones to cars, are disposed of and replaced within a few years of ownership. This exhibition goes back to a time when today's disposable items were still hand-crafted luxuries, from the technological innovations of pocket watches to the exotic glamour of imported fans.

Fitzwilliam Museum

Trumpington Street, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2 1RB

01223 332900


Opening times

Tue – Sat, 10am – 5pm

Sun & Bank Holidays, 12noon – 5pm

Closed Mon, 24 – 26, 31 Dec and 1 Jan

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