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Department Collections

The Department of Paintings, Drawings and Prints houses a collection of exceptional international importance by artists of European, American and Asian schools, ranging in date from the 13th century to the present day.

The collection has its origins in the founding bequest of nearly 150 paintings, drawings and superlative collection of prints, left to the University of Cambridge in 1816 by Richard, VIIth Viscount Fitzwilliam. Since then it has grown by gift, bequest and purchase to encompass around 160,000 paintings, prints and drawings in all media.

Paintings are exhibited principally in Galleries 1-8, 11, 12, 15, 31 and 32.
Drawings, watercolours and prints are displayed in regularly-changing thematic exhibitions in Galleries 14 and 16 and in covered tablecases throughout the museum.


  • Degas: A Passion for Perfection

    Degas’s pursuit of the mastery of his creative means is evident in his relentless experimentation with technical procedures throughout his long career. This exhibition draws on the extensive but still little-known collections of the Fitzwilliam Museum to examine Degas’s practice and processes in the wide range of media in which he worked.