skip to content

Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 - 17:00
Sundays & Bank Holidays: 12:00 - 17:00
Closed Good Friday, 24-26 & 31 December and 1 January


Friends of the Fitzwilliam Autumn 2019 Events



To book by phone call 01223 357851.

In person visit City Centre Box Office, 2 Wheeler Street, Cambridge CB2 3QB

Box Office Opening Hours
Phone Line Monday - Saturday 10.00-18.00
Counter Sales Monday - Friday 12.00-18.00
Saturday 10.00-18.00

Full details of all Friends events can be found in the latest newsletter.


CANCELLED: Trip to Holkham Hall and Gardens

Tuesday 10 September • 8.15 – 16.30

With a stunning location on the north Norfolk coast and at the heart of a thriving 25,000 acre estate, Holkham Hall is described as an exceptional place, rich in history, architecture and wildlife.The seat of the Earls of Leicester, this elegant 18th century mansion is still very much a lived-in family home which the family take pride in sharing with visitors.

The hall is an elegant 18th century Palladian style house, based on designs by William Kent and built by Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester. The Marble Hall is a spectacular introduction to this imposing building, with its 50ft pressed plaster dome ceiling and walls of English alabaster, not marble as its name implies. Stairs lead to magnificent state rooms displaying superb collections of ancient statuary, original furniture, tapestries and paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Claude, Gaspar, Poussin and Gainsborough.

Friends will enjoy a private guided tour of the State Rooms in the morning, followed by lunch in the Courtyard café. In the afternoon we will be treated to a guided tour of the Walled Garden, fascinatingly laid out as “rooms”. And of course, there will be an opportunity to visit the gift shop before we depart for our return journey to Cambridge.

8.15 Cambridge – Milton Road P&R - coach collection

10.30 Arrival (approx.) for refreshments in the Marble Hall

11.00 Private Guided tour of the State Rooms

13.00 Free time to have lunch independently in the Courtyard café or by own arrangements

14.30 Guided Tour of the Walled Garden

16.30 Departure – coach to Milton Road - P&R

Please note, this event has been cancelled.
Places: 50 • Guests welcome
Cost: £50 includes morning coffee, tea and biscuits, both tours and coach travel. Lunch to be purchased independently or bring your own.
Full address: Holkham Hall, Wells –next-the-sea, Norfolk, NR23 1AB (Satnav – NR23 1AB)


Welcome Coffee, Cake and Tour for New Friends

Saturday 19 October • 10.15 – 12.30

If you are new to the Friends, would like the opportunity to meet other Friends and wish to be better acquainted with The Fitzwilliam Museum’s collection of paintings, please do join us for refreshments and a guided tour through the paintings galleries, led by Sarah Burles. This tour will also feature the newly opened Gallery 3 after nearly 2 years of refurbishment 

Places: 20 • Friends only
Cost: Free, but booking essential
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum, arrive via the Courtyard Entrance and meet in the Friends Room
Image © Martin Bond


Friends Curatorial Morning

Unlocking the Literary Archives at the Fitzwilliam, with Suzanne Reynolds, Lisa Gee and Edward Cheese

Thursday 7 November • 10.15 – 13.00

Rather unusually for a museum, the Fitzwilliam has remarkable holdings of literary archives, including drafts, annotated proofs and letters from writers including William Blake, John Keats, Charlotte Brontë, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Thomas Hardy. We also hold the world’s largest archive relating to William Hayley (1745-1820), who apart from being a poet, biographer, and influential promoter of artists and writers, wrote one of the eighteenth century’s best-selling self-help books advising young women on how to attract and keep a husband - in rhyming couplets!

This curatorial led morning will outline the Museum’s literary holdings and trace the story of their acquisition, largely during the directorship of Sydney Cockerell. Dr Suzanne Reynolds, Assistant Keeper of Manuscripts and Printed Books will focus in depth on the autograph manuscript of Keats’s Ode to a Nightingale, whilst Conservator, Edward Cheese, will talk about the varied conservation challenges of this material. Once in the Founder’s Library, Dr Lisa Gee will concentrate on the papers of William Hayley, and their surprising revelations about artistic and personal life in the late eighteenth century.

Places 25 • Friends only
Cost: £20 includes coffee, tea and cake
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Meet in the Seminar Room (35) at 10.15
Image John Keats, Ode to a Nightingale, May 1819



Friends Study Morning

Feast & Fast: The art of Food in Europe 1500 – 1800 with the exhibition curators

Monday 2 December • 10.15 – 13.00

Food is familiar and vital to all of us — as growers, preparers, and consumers — but its ubiquity and omnipresence in our lives belies the complexity of our relationship, and that of past generations, to food and eating. Food defines us as individuals, communities, and nations — we are what we eat and, equally, what we don’t eat. When we eat, where we eat, why we eat, how we eat and with whom we eat are crucial social and cultural identifiers. This ambitious interdisciplinary research led exhibition draws out some of these relationships within a deliberately broad framework, focussing on Britain and Europe from 1500 to 1800, in an age when local food cultures were transformed by global networks.

The morning will begin with a presentation from the exhibition curators, Dr Vicky Avery, Keeper of Applied Arts and Dr Melissa Calaresu, Lecturer in History, Gonville and Caius College. After the presentation Friends and their guests will be invited to join them in the exhibition galleries for EXCLUSIVE access.

Places 40 • Guests Welcome
Cost: £20 includes coffee, tea and cake
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Meet in the Seminar Room (35) at 10.15


Friends Christmas Party

Wednesday 11 December

18.30 – 20.30

We are delighted to be returning to our traditional venue of Gallery 3 this year for our Christmas Party. As you are aware, the gallery has undergone much needed renovations and refurbishment, and we hope you will be pleased to see the end result.

We are excited to announce that Jesus College Choir will once again be performing. Our grateful thanks to Choir Master, Richard Pinel and the members of the choir for generously agreeing to join us to add an extra sprinkling of Christmas spirit to the evening.

Please bring along your friends and family to enjoy a drink and celebrate the festive season with us.

18.30 Doors open

19.00 Director’s address and Jesus College Choir concert

 20.30 Museum closes

Places: 250 • Guests welcome
Cost: £27.50 to include wine and canapés
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum.
Arriving via the Founder’s Entrance requires guests to climb 42 steep and uneven steps. For level access, please arrive at the Courtyard Entrance.