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Sundays & Bank Holidays: 12:00 - 17:00
Closed Good Friday, 24-26 & 31 December and 1 January


Christmas is seen as a time for giving.  In our 2018 online advent calendar we are celebrating gifts that have been made to the Museum, by individuals, groups and organisations, ranging from the Founder’s bequest in 1816 to another collection bequest made in 2015.  We hope you will enjoy learning more about the gifts that have helped to build our collection.

Please contact us if you’d like to know more about a gift in kind or bequest to the Museum.



Date of gift 1816 
France, c.1500
Given by Viscount Fitzwilliam
MS 131, p. 118

The Fitzwilliam Museum owes its foundation to Richard, VII Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion who, in 1816, bequeathed to the University of Cambridge his works of art and library, together with funds to house them, to further "the Increase of Learning and other great Objects of that Noble Foundation".



Date of gift 1906
Silver Greek coin
Struck at Cyzicus, Mysia state c. 280 BC
Given by J R McLean

On obverse, this coin shows the head of Kore Soteira (‘the saviour maiden’), wearing triple-drop earring, necklace and barley wreath. On reverse, Apollo seated on omphalos (the ‘navel’ of the world) resting an arm on a lyre. Silver four drachma, struck at Cyzicus in late 4th century BC.  It is part of the collection of ancient coins, totalling 10,078 specimens, given by John Robinson McClean between 1906 and 1912.



Date of gift 1909 
Panel of Iznik Tiles
Showing flowers in a vase flanked by plants c. 1550-1650

First purchase made by the Friends of the Fitzwilliam. The oldest such society in Britain.




Date of gift 1909
The Annunciation
By Domenico Veneziano c. 1442-48
Given by Frederick Fuller

Many significant gifts and bequests arrived in the Fitzwilliam’s collection during the directorship of Sydney Cockerell from 1908 – 1937.  One such gift was this much-loved Annunciation and also A Miracle of Saint Zenobius, both predella panels from an altarpiece by Domenico Veneziano, bequeathed in 1909 by Frederick Fuller, Professor of Mathematics and Fellow of Peterhouse College.



Date of gift 1912
Annunciation to the Shepherds
Manuscript from the collection of Charles Brinsley Marlay, France, c. 1500
Marlay cutting Fr. 13a.

Marlay’s bequest of his collection and a large amount of money enabled the building of the first extension to the Founder’s Building which gave the Museum the Upper and Lower Marlay Galleries, (Galleries 6 and 26).



Date of gift 1913
Verge Watch in gold pair case
Made by Robert Seignior and possible case maker Nathaniel Delander, London, 1683
Given by Frank Gray Smart
M/P.61 & A-1913

The  Museum possesses a highly important, though little-known collection of more than 200 watches of various sizes and types, including alarm pocket watches and carriage-watches, dating from c. 1530 – c. 1830. Many of the pieces are very rare, several are highly ornate and a couple may be considered ‘celebrity’ watches, such as those formerly owned by Beethoven and Gainsborough. The museum collection is formed primarily of two bequests: over 100 pieces came from the Frank Gray Smart bequest in 1913, and 111 pieces from the Perceval bequest in 1922. 



Date of gift 1928
Stoneware punch bowl modeled in the shape of an Owl
Martin Brothers, pottery, 1903
Given by Dr J W L Glaisher
C.41 & A-1928

This owl resembles a punch bowl said to have been made by Robert Wallace Martin for the Bohemian Club of San Francisco, a literary club founded in 1872, which has an owl as its emblem. According to the ceramic historian J F Blackler, the first model for this developed a firing crack and was not dispatched, but another arrived safely only to be destroyed by the 1906 earthquake. The Fitzwilliam’s owl also has a firing crack, and remained at the Martin Brothers’ pottery until it was sold to Dr Glaisher in 1924.

Dr J W L Glaisher, a mathematician and Fellow of Trinity College,  died in 1928 and left his entire collection of English and European ceramics to the Fitzwilliam and Gallery 27, which houses most of the finest pieces, in known as the Glaisher Gallery.



Date of gift 1933
The "Winter King", Frederik V, Elector Palatine, King of Bohemia
Print made by Dutch printmaker Willem Jacobsz Delff after Dutch artist Michiel Jansz Miereveld, 1622
Given by John Charrington

John Charrington was our First Honorary Keeper of Prints from 1909 – 1939.  He donated the money for our Charrington Print Room, which provides both storage for our print collection and a display space for small print exhibitions.  He also gave over 4,000 prints, and each print is dry stamped with his collection mark JC.



Date of gift 1933
Polish Szyszak helmet
Given as part of a collection of armour by James Stewart Henderson

James Stewart Henderson, d. 1933 was the son of a wealthy Australian banker and master of Abbotsford, St Helens Park, Hastings, James Stewart Henderson swore visitors to secrecy and little is known about his reclusive life.



Date of gift 1933
autograph MS of John Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale’
Given by Robert Crewe-Milnes
MS 1-1933

Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe  1858-1945, graduated from Trinity College in 1880 and was a Liberal politician.  He hosted the dinner party at which Winston Churchill met Clementine Hozier



Date of gift 1943
Fragment of ancient Egyptian wall painting/relief showing human head wearing crown
c. 2055-2004 B.C.
Given by Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson

Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson 1881-1945 was a British Army surgeon and collector of antiquities. He made donations to the Fitzwilliam Museum, British Museum  (Gayer-Anderson cat), Manchester Museum and World Museum Liverpool



Date of gift 1946
Jade bear
Han Dynasty, China (BC 206 - AD 220)
Given by Oscar Charles Raphael

Oscar Charles Raphael  (1874-1941) was a founder member of the Oriental Ceramic Society.  He was a collector of objects from China and the Far East from childhood, many of which were donated to the Fitz and British Museum.  He was appointed by the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1924 to oversee the collection of ceramics from China and the Far East.  This figure of a bear is made of black jade, carved and polished, depicting a bear sitting up and eating with its paw. The reverse grooved, perhaps for attachment



Date of gift 1952
Horses from a tripod stand
Etruria, Italy, 600-401 BC
Given by Winifred Lamb

Winifred Lamb 1894 – 1963 studied Classics at Newnham College and served as Honorary Keeper of Greek Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum from 1920 to 1958. She first met Sir Sydney Cockerell at the sale of the Hope antiquities at Christie’s in July 1917. Later that year she was invited to join Room 40, part of Naval Intelligence, where she worked alongside the academic (Sir) John Beazley who encouraged her interest in Greek pottery. Cockerell invited her to work on the Greek collections at the Fitzwilliam, before offering her the role of Honorary Keeper. One of her first tasks was to create a prehistoric gallery where finds from excavations sponsored by the British School were displayed. She developed an interest in Greek and Roman bronzes, and then made a series of purchases in preparation for the publication of the two Cambridge fascicules of the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. In the post-war years she helped to consolidate the classical collections across the different museums in Cambridge.



Date of gift 1954
Panther cast copper alloy figurine
200 – 1 BC, Egypt
Given by Sir Robert Hyde Greg – Egyptian bronzes

Sir Robert Hyde Greg left his collection of Egyptian antiquities, including numerous superb bronze figurines and accompanied by a generous legacy in 1954.  This gift enriched the antiquities collections, and enabled the Egyptian galleries to be systematically displayed for the first time in their history, as well as leaving a fund for future acquisitions or antiquities.  The Greg Fund also paid for the lighting of the upper galleries in 1969.



Date of gift 1960
Gion sha setchû
Japanese ukiyo-e print by Utagawa Hiroshige 1835
Given by Louis Colville Gray Clarke – Japanese prints

From the series Kyoto meisho no uchi (Famous views in Kyoto) published about 1835. Four geisha are seen in front of the stone torii of the Kanshin-in, a Shintô shrine in the Gion district of Kyoto (Gion was one of the town’s pleasure quarters). In some impressions of the first edition the rooves of the buildings are shaded grey at the top. This is a later impression without the publisher's name or censor's seal in the margin.

Louis Clarke was Director of the Museum from 1937-1946, and then became the Museum Honorary Keeper of Prints.  On his death in 1960, Clarke bequeathed to the Museum a truly immense number of works of art, ranging from drawings, paintings and portraits miniatures to furniture, sculpture, silver, maiolica, porcelain, snuffboxes, tapestries embroideries, rugs, Japanese prints and miscellaneous antiquities.



Date of gift 1963
A winterscene in Holland
Watercolour drawing by Abraham Rademaker, Dutch artist (1675-1735)
Given by Sir Bruce Stirling Ingram

Sir Bruce Stirling Ingram 1877-1963 was Editor of The English Illustrated Magazine, The Sketch and The Illustrated London News as well as being Honorary Keeper of Drawings at the Fitzwilliam Museum.  He was a Captain in the army. Awarded Military Cross for bravery in WWI, 1917



Date of gift 1966
Painting by Claude Monet from the banks of the River Epte in Giverny, 1891
Given by Captain Stanley Sykes

Captain Stanley Sykes was made Honorary Keeper of Pictures in 1956.  His many gifts and bequests, included several of the paintings for which the Fitzwilliam is now renowned, such as Monet’s Poplars along with works by Renoir, Sisley, Seurat and Corot



Date of gift 1973
Common Provence Rose
Watercolour by Georg Dionysius Ehret (1708-1770)
Given by Henry Rogers Broughton – flower drawings and paintings

The Fairhaven bequest of Flower paintings and drawings to the Museum in 1973 was described by the then Director, Michael Jaffé, as an act of  ‘breath-taking generosity’. Thanks to the gift in 1966 and later bequest (1973) of Henry Rogers Broughton, 2nd Lord Fairhaven, the Fitzwilliam has one of the most important collections of flower paintings and drawings anywhere.



Date of gift 1984
Celadon Bowl
From the South Cholla province of Korea, c. 1100-1150 AD
Given by Godfrey and Elizabeth Gompertz

In 1984 the Gompertz collection of Korean Ceramics was given to the Museum and is one of the finest such collections outside Southeast Asia, and housed in its own specially designed gallery since 1991.  This bowl is stoneware, thrown, moulded and celadon-glazed. The inside is finely moulded in shallow relief with a chrysanthemum flower-head in the centre and three boys playing among scrolling lotus round the sides. The pale bluish-green jade-like glaze is evenly applied, with a subtle gloss and no crackle.



Date of gift 1985 
The Messel Standing Feather Fan
Materials from South America and Europe, c. 1665
Acquired for the Museum thanks to a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and gift from the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum

The collection of fans formerly owned Colonel Leonard C R Messe and Anne Parsons, Countess of Rosse, was offered for sale to the Fitzwilliam Museum, and their acquisition made possible by a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and a gift from the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum.  In this fan the blue and purple feathers match those of the purple-breasted cotinga (cotinga amabilis), found in Brazil, the Guyanas and Surinam. Although not identical, the bird forming part of the decoration on this side of the fan may have been intended to represent that cotinga. The other feathers have yet to be identified, but may come from members of the same species.



Date of gift 1997 and ongoing
Nobody's Business
Ken Eastman, potter, b. 1960, England, Herefordshire
Gift of Nicholas and Judith Goodison through the National Art Collections Fund, as part of an ongoing series of gifts of contemporary ceramics and jewellery

In October 2016, the Fitzwilliam Museum launched a new publication ‘Contemporary British Crafts – The Goodison Gift to the Fitzwilliam Museum’ – a fully illustrated catalogue published by Philip Wilson of over one hundred examples of contemporary glass, ceramics, furniture, jewellery and metalwork, all made in the UK in the past two decades.   The patrons behind this liberal, and growing, gift are Nicholas and Judith Goodison – London residents with strong connections to Cambridge. Nicholas was a classics undergraduate at Kings College in the 1950s and Judith had close family links to the University. Nicholas has been Honorary Keeper of Furniture at the Fitzwilliam since the late 1960s and was awarded a PhD in architecture and history of art in 1981.



Date of gift 2009
Borghese Borhesi (1414-1490)
Bronze medal, made by Francesco di Giorgio, minted in Siena 1479-1490
Given by Graham Pollard.   Accepted by HM Government in Lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Fitzwilliam Museum, 2009

The Graham Pollard Collection of Medals and Plaquettes, consists of 276 medals and two plaquettes of the Renaissance and later. This was a selection made to complement the Fitzwilliam’s collection, chosen from a much larger number. His son, Lawrence Pollard, had already donated his papers, his slide collection and selected books and offprints. Graham Pollard (1929-2007) was the leading authority on Italian Renaissance Medals in the post-War period. His entire career was spent at the Fitzwilliam Museum rising from a Gallery Attendant in 1947 to become Keeper of Coins and Medals (1966-1988) and Deputy Director (1969-1988). He was a founding member and the first Chairman of the British Art Medal Society in 1982.



Date of gift 2015
Ricorditi di me che son la Pia (from Dante's 'Purgatorio')
A chalk drawing by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1868
Given by Sir Ivor and Lady Batchelor

In 2015, the Museum received an exceptional collection of drawings, ceramics, glass and bronzes from Sir Ivor and Lady Batchelor, through the Art Fund.  Highlights from this collection, including this drawing, are on display at the Museum (4 December 2018 – 3 March 2019) in this exhibition: Collecting and Giving: Highlights from the Sir Ivor and Lady Batchelor bequest



1848 – present day
Viscount Fitzwilliam’s gift of the Museum, which opened in 1848, now houses over 500,000 artefacts and art from around the world.  Through learning, research, collections care and display we aim to care for and share this collection with as wide an audience as possible.