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December 2013



With two new exhibitions to enjoy, A World of Private Mystery: John Craxton RA (1922 - 2009) and Edmund de Waal's On White, there are plenty of reasons to visit the Fitzwilliam this December.

Catch up on your Christmas shopping with art inspired gifts in our shop and relax with seasonal treats in the café.

We will be posting a different advent calendar image or event each day on Facebook.

And on Christmas day don't miss the MR James: Ghost Writer documentary at 10.05pm on BBC Two which features the Fitzwilliam.

Christmas opening hours 2013:

CLOSED: 23-26 December

OPEN: 27-29 December

CLOSED: 30, 31 December and 1 January

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Christmas at the Fitzwilliam with the Granta Chorale

Thu 12 December: 19.30 - 21.00

The Museum’s perennially popular annual Christmas concert takes place in the splendid surroundings of Gallery 3.

Come and enjoy a performance of seasonal favourites and a glass of wine amidst the Fitzwilliam’s fabulous collections and get the festive season off to a very special start.

Tickets: £17.50 (£14.50 concessions and Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum), including interval glass of wine. Available from City Centre Box Office, Wheeler Street, Cambridge. Tel: 01223 357851


A world of private mystery: John Craxton, RA (1922-2009)

Until Mon 21 April 2014

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Discover the work of John Craxton from his beginnings creating dark, meditative images of the natural world, to works of incredible vibrancy from his later life in Crete.

John Craxton is recognised as one of the great British artists of the 20th century. Together with Lucien Freud he was one of the young hopes of post-war art in Britain, and his influences included Samuel Palmer, William Blake, Paul Nash, Miro and Picasso. In 1960 he settled in Crete, where his paintings began to reflect the light and colour of the Mediterranean.

The exhibition includes a short film about Craxton with Sir David Attenborough, as well as personal photos reflecting the artist’s many travels and friendships.

“In Crete John learned what he described as a very salutary lesson for a painter – that life is more important than art…” Sir David Attenborough

Edmund de Waal
On White: Porcelain Stories from the Fitzwilliam

Until Sun 23 February 2014

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Edmund de Waal explores the story of porcelain through the ceramic collections of the Fitzwilliam.  Discover new displays of historic porcelain, hidden objects, letters, poetry and two major works by de Waal, a thousand hours and yourself, you.  

“Porcelain has been made for a thousand years. It comes from the Chinese city of Jingdezhen. For a millennium it has been full of workshops, potters, glazers and decorators, merchants, hustlers and spies. This is the place where Emperors sent emissaries with orders. This is the city where travellers could hardly see for the smoke from the kilns that burned day and night.”

“This exhibition is the story of obsession with porcelain. How do you make it? Can you ever get to the place it comes from, the source of this river of white?”
Edmund de Waal


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The night of longing: Love and desire in Japanese prints

Until Sun 12 January 2014

Beautiful Japanese prints depicting lovers from literature and life feature in this exhibition of woodcuts and books of the Edo and Meiji periods. 

See how love and desire were presented and accepted in Japanese art during these eras, looking at a selection of 40 prints and books by some of the most famous artists of the time including Harunobu, Utamaro, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Kunisada, Kuniyoshi and Yoshitoshi.


Gallery 1

Five works by Stanley Spencer (1891-1959) are now on display, including one of his most significant early paintings and two preliminary sketches documenting his experiences of World War I. 

The works were acquired through HM Government’s acceptance in lieu scheme.

Read the full story in the news pages of Arts Council England.

See an online gallery of the works on the Art Fund’s website.

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Free. Admission by token, 1 per person, available at the Courtyard Entrance desk from 12.45 on the day. For our full season of talks and locations visit our website

On White: Porcelain stories from the Fitzwilliam

Wed 11 December: 13.15 - 14.00

With Victoria Avery, Keeper of Applied Arts

The night of longing: Love and desire in Japanese prints

Wed 18 December: 13.15 - 14.00

With Craig Hartley, Senior Assistant Keeper, Paintings, Drawings and Prints

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To book contact: 01223 332904 | . Places confirmed on receipt of payment. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Family First Saturday

Sat 7 December: 14.00 – 16.00

All Ages

Visit our Fitz Family Welcome Point and collect drawing materials, activities and trails to use throughout the Museum, exploring a variety of themes.

Free, no booking required.


The Young Dürer: Drawing the Figure

The Courtauld Gallery | Until 12 January 2014

FINAL WEEKS: Discover the early figure drawings of the great Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer.

This is your chance to see outstanding early works by Dürer and his contemporaries, many of which have never been seen in the United Kingdom.

Find out more and book tickets online.


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Seasonal treats and shopping at the Fitz

Find Christmas cards, decorations and unique art inspired gifts and jewellery in our shop.  Special items this year include a new winter scarf collection, gifts from Japan (complementing the exhibition The Night of Longing) and arty stocking-fillers.  Our café has a variety of seasonal treats including mince pies, stollen and hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows.

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General admission to the Fitzwilliam Museum is FREE

For full details of all events and workshops, visit our website at

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All images © Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, unless otherwise stated


Picture 4: Landscape, Hydra, 1963-7, Image © Estate of John Craxton

Picture 5: a thousand hours (detail), Edmund de Waal

Picture 7:  Making Columns for the Tower of Babel, 1933, © The Estate of Stanley Spencer 2013. All rights reserved DACS. Photo © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Picture 10: Albrecht Dürer, Wise Virgin, Courtauld Gallery



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