The Fitzwilliam holds the finest and largest museum collection of medieval and Renaissance illumination, preserving some 2000 manuscripts and miniatures.
The 130 volumes bequeathed to the University of Cambridge by Richard, VII Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745-1816), were at the heart of the collection with which the Museum was established in 1816. Superb examples of late medieval and Renaissance painting, they reveal Viscount Fitzwilliam’s interest in manuscripts as works of art. Bequests, donations and purchases made during the next 200 years were – and still are – informed by the same appreciation for artistic ingenuity. The Fitzwilliam Museum’s manuscripts inspire advanced research, teaching and exhibitions. ILLUMINATED aims to support these activities, central to the Fitzwilliam Museum’s commitment to share its collections and expertise.