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You are in: Online Resources > Online Exhibitions > Friends Exhibition > 1967-1990

A Century of Giving

Section Three: 1967-1990

Late 20th century expansion: David Piper & Michael Jaffé

1965 extension to the Fitzwilliam Museum

1965 extension to the Fitzwilliam Museum

Under the directorship of Sir David Piper (1967-73), the Fitzwilliam began to look to the long term future, aware that its needs and priorities as a university museum had changed.

This period saw a further expansion of the collections. Contemporary art was now beginning to be acquired and, in 1965, the new 20th Century Gallery was opened in the 'White Cube Building'. This self-contained extension, an American-influenced design, represented radical modern architecture in Cambridge.

In 1975, under Professor Michael Jaffé's directorship (1973-1990), another extension was opened, including a new entrance, Reading Room, and purpose-built gallery for the display of modern art. The latter was named after Sir Robert Adeane, Patron of the Friends (1975-9) who had given £100,000 to launch the extension appeal.

Hans Coper, Vase

Hans Coper

Fitzwilliam Museum

In 1979, Fitzwilliam Museum Enterprise began trading in the Museum - selling books, postcards and a wide range of popular merchandise associated with the collection.

The Friends' fund was widely used during these years of expansion: in building up a contemporary print collection, for instance, and in securing important paintings - such as Cuyp's Sunset, and Van Dyck's Madonna & Child. In ceramics, the Museum's 'rather weak modern representation' was systematically strengthened with works by Lucy Rie, Hans Coper, Bernard Leach and Sam Herman.

The Messel Mica Fan

The Messel Mica Fan
folding fan, c.1665-1700
Fitzwilliam Museum

In 1985, the Friends gave £20,000 towards the purchase of a large collection of fans which were to be exhibited in a new, purpose-built gallery. They also contributed to the growing display of 19th century sculptures in the main Entrance Hall.

Elisabeth Frink, bust of Michael Jaffé

Elisabeth Frink
Head of Professor Michael Jaffé

bronze, 1992
Fitzwilliam Museum

On Michael Jaffé's retirement as Director, in 1990, the Friends commissioned a portrait of him from the sculptor, Elizabeth Frink, who was also their Patron. Jaffé, a distinguished scholar, connoisseur and collector, was an impressive-looking man whose bearded profile was said to have given him 'more than a passing resemblance to an Assyrian deity'!

Marchesi, The Penitent Magdalene

Pompeo Marchesi
The Penitent Magdalene

marble, 1832
Fitzwilliam Museum

Alfred Elmore, On the Brink

Alfred Elmore
On the Brink

oil on canvas
on panel, 1865

Andy Warhol, Danger

Andy Warhol

Fitzwilliam Museum


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click on images below for information about each exhibit

Patrick Heron, Four blues, Two discs

Patrick Heron
Four blues,Two discs


Florence Kingsford, Hymn to Aten

Florence Kingsford
Hymn to Aten


John Gibson, Venus Verticorda

John Gibson
Venus Verticorda


William de Morgan, Peacock Tiles

William De Morgan & Co.
'Peacock' Tiles


The Tornabuoni medal

Niccoló Fiorentino, style of
medal Giovanna degli Albizzi, wife of Lorenzo Tornabuoni

George Stubbs, Gimcrack with John Pratt up on Newmarket Heath

George Stubbs
Gimcrack with John Pratt up on
Newmarket Heath


Fabre, Joseph Allen Smith

François-Xavier Fabre
Joseph Allen Smith seated above the Arno, contemplating Florence


Picasso, drawing of Lydia Lopokova

Pablo Picasso
Lydia Lopokova


Egyptian statuette

Egyptian statuette
Middle Kingdom, start of Dynasty XII
1991-1962 BC