This online exhibition was first produced to accompany the special display of a range of drawings and prints acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum over the ten years 1999-2009. Tue 20 October 2009 to Sun 24 January 2010
The selection focuses on works that have not yet been shown in public; other notable acquisitions (Barocci drawings, Whistler and Auerbach etchings, Cayley Robinson theatre designs, Japanese woodcuts) have been excluded because they featured previously in separate monographic exhibitions, most of which can be explored online (see links below).
Part of the Museum's core function is not only to preserve, study and make accessible the collections in its care, but also to develop those collections by acquisition. The Fitzwilliam's collecting policy is to build on areas of strength, and to strengthen areas of weakness, so that the existing collections can be presented and understood in a wider and richer context. Since Lord Fitzwilliam's founding bequest in 1816, the collection has grown mainly through gifts and bequests from private collectors, some of them allocated by the Government after their acceptance in lieu of taxes.
The Fitzwilliam Museum also purchases works of art, largely by using funds donated privately for this purpose. It maximises these funds by combining them with public grants, notably from the purchase fund administered for the Government by the V&A since 1881, and with grants from dedicated charities, especially The Art Fund, active since 1903, and the Museum's own support organisation, The Friends of the Fitzwilliam, which celebrated its centenary in 2009.