November 2007

Welcome to the Fitzwilliam Museum's eNews - keeping you in touch with the very latest information about exhibitions, events, displays and more. Admission to the Fitzwilliam Museum is FREE, and a wide-ranging programme of activities is on offer.

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Opera at the Fitzwilliam Museum: A Concert Performance of Inkle and Yarico

Inkle and Yarico

This month, The Fitzwilliam Museum and Opera East Productions will present Samuel Arnold's 1787 opera Inkle and Yarico, a tale of love and betrayal told against the background of the Atlantic slave trade.

Based on a real-life account that shocked the nation, Inkle and Yarico dramatises the fateful encounter between a young English trader and the Guyanan princess who saves his life. A passionate affair ensues, but the pair are soon to learn that in such times, profit takes precedence over love. Arnold's tragi-comic tale, which experienced enormous success in its day, is today recognised as a key force in alerting the English public to the horrors of slavery. This `spirited operatic resurrection´ (Opera magazine) by Opera East Productions is an engagingly authentic recreation of 18th century `English Opera´, to be performed amidst the historical splendour of The Fitzwilliam Museum. Ticket price includes a complimentary glass of wine.


Monday 26 November 2007 | 19.30 (doors open 19.00)
The Fitzwilliam Museum

£25 (£20 concessions and Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum) Tickets are available from Cambridge Arts Box Office, 6 St Edward's Passage, Cambridge, CB2 3PJ — telephone (01223) 503333.

Why not book a special pre-show dinner at Loch Fyne in Trumpington Street opposite the Museum? A complimentary bottle of wine for every table (min. 2 persons) when you order an A La Carte main course before 6pm on 26 November 2007 quoting `Inkle and Yarico´. Call Loch Fyne on 01223 362433 to book.


Extension of Courtyard Photographic Exhibition: Marc-Henri Auffève's Sketches of Ethiopia

EgyptFollowing the popularity of the exhibition Ethiopian Encounters, the Fitzwilliam Museum is pleased to announce the extension of the photographic exhibition Sketches of Ethiopia by Marc-Henri Auffève, currently on display in the Museum Courtyard. This photographic display, which coincides with Black History Month, illuminates the landscapes, colour and rich ethnic diversity of contemporary Ethiopia, and will now run the full length of Ethiopian Encounters, closing Sunday 20 January 2008.



The Book of the Living: modern `virtual papyrus´ at the Fitzwilliam Museum


Visitors to the Fitzwilliam Museum’s website can now view the results of an innovative series of workshops and ‘drop-by’ sessions held at the Museum in July and August 2007, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Renaissance in the Regions. To coincide with a rare showing of a fragile 3,000 year-old Egyptian papyrus The Book of the Dead of Ramose in the Museum’s exhibition Passport to the Egyptian Afterlife, members of the public of all ages were given the opportunity to engage with the techniques behind the creation of this remarkable work.

Workshops held in the Fitzwilliam Museum’s studio allowed participants to learn about the ancient medium and make their own papyrus, while visitors to the Book of the Dead exhibition itself were invited to create their own artwork in response to what they had seen, with materials provided outside the gallery on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contributors were given free rein with their choice of subject matter, with inspiration in the form of images from the Book of the Dead of Ramose itself – a lavishly illustrated collection of spells to help the dead survive the perils of the afterlife –and examples of hieroglyphs. The resulting collection of papyri was accordingly titled ‘the Book of the Living’, and was displayed within the Museum, while visitors who wished to keep their artwork contributed photographs of their images. The Book of the Living has now become a ‘virtual papyrus’, available to ‘unroll’ online with its illustrations – which include human figures, animals and pyramids – visible to viewers around the world.

To view the Book of the Living, go to

For more Online Exhibitions from the Fitzwilliam Museum, go to




From Reason to Revolution: Art and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Experiment with an Air PumpUntil 27 January 2008
Mellon Gallery (Gallery 13)

A century of dynamic change is examined in this new exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum. The numerous paradoxes of the so-called `Age of Reason´ are explored through highlights from the Fitzwilliam Museum's eighteenth-century collections: paintings, prints, drawings, rare books, ceramics, sculpture — many from the Founder's original bequest.


Private Pleasures: Illuminated Manuscripts from Persia to Paris

Private Pleasures

Until 6 January 2008
Octagon Gallery (Gallery 10)

A rare and intimate glimpse of the treasures in a private collection, celebrating the unique beauty of illuminated manuscripts across chronological, geographic and cultural boundaries. Exhibits include a Byzantine Gospelbook, a Bruges Book of Hours and an Ottomman Qu'ran, amongst many other riches.


Ethiopian Encounters: A British Expedition to Ethiopia in the 1840s

Ethiopian Encounters

Until 20 January 2008
Shiba Gallery (Gallery 14)

An exciting exhibition of rare watercolours by the British explorer Sir William Cornwallis Harris. Produced in the course of Harris's diplomatic expedition to Ethiopia between 1841 and 1843, these images form a collection of exceptional historical and cultural significance. The exhibition is accompanied by a wide-ranging programme of talks, workshops and events and is complemented by the photographic exhibition Sketches of Ethiopia in the Courtyard.



The Gentle Art: Friends and Strangers in Whistler's Prints


Until 13 January 2008
Charrington Print Room (Gallery 16)

The first of a two-part survey of etchings, drypoints and lithographs by the American artist James McNeill Whistler (1934-1903) from the Fitzwilliam Museum’s collection. 'The Gentle Art' focuses on Whistler’s representations of human figures, from the shadowy forms of his early ‘French Set’ of the 1850s and the domestic scenes of his London milieu, to the late portraits and nudes produced in the 1890s. The second part of the exhibition Palaces of the Night: The urban landscape in Whistler’s prints will take place in autumn 2008.





Ethiopian Encounters

Ethiopian Encounters - Explorers and collectors
Wednesday 7 November | 13:15 - 13:45
Given by Professor Simon Keynes, Trinity College, and Jane Munro, Senior Assistant Keeper of Paintings, Drawings and Prints, the Fitzwilliam Museum
 Shiba Gallery (Gallery 14)

The exhibition organisers and catalogue authors of Ethiopian Encounters give a detailed introduction to their exhibition.
FREE - no booking required.




Qene - ancient methods of study in Ethiopia
Thursday 15 November | 13:15 - 13:45
Seminar Room (35)
Given by the Rev John Binns, Vicar of Great St Mary's, Cambridge and author of An Introduction to the Christian Orthodox Churches

A fascinating talk focusing on the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which maintains an oral tradition of theological study developed over several centuries and unique in Christendom.
FREE - no booking required.


Wilfred Thesiger in Ethiopia
Thursday 22 November | 13:15 - 13:45
Given by Alexander Maitland, author of Wilfred Thesiger: The Life of the Great Explorer
Seminar Room (35)

A legend in his own lifetime, the explorer and traveller Wilfred Thesiger, author of the Danakil Diaries, spent his childhood in Ethiopia and travelled there repeatedly throughout his life, often to some of the remotest, most dangerous places on earth. His close friend, biographer and literary executor Alexander Maitland will give a revealing account of Thesiger's fascination for the country.
FREE - no booking required.



Tewodros II - The Barefoot Emperor; tales and travels from the Ethiopian Highlands
Thursday 29 November | 18:00 - 20:00
Given by Philip Marsden, author of The Chains of Heaven: An Ethiopian Romance

Writer, traveller and anthropologist Philip Marsden attributes to his travels in Ethiopia his passion to explore 'remote and restive minorities' throughout the world. His talk will focus on the subject of his forthcoming book The Barefoot Emperor: An Ethiopian Tragedy (published in November).
Tickets £7.50, booking essential: includes pre-talk opportunity to view the exhibition and a glass of wine.
Contact Anna Lloyd-Griffiths Tel. 01223 764362 or email


Snap Shots
Saturday 17 November | 10.30 - 13.00 for accompanied children 5 - 7
Saturday 17 November | 14.00 - 16.30 For 8 - 11 year olds
Visit our Ethiopian Encounters exhibition, see how artists recorded their travels before photography and make your own sketch book to draw in and take home with you. Materials provided.
£6 per child, booking essential: telephone 01223 332904 or email



Sunday Promenade Concerts

The popular Promenade Concert series have returned to Sundays at the Fitzwilliam Museum. Recitals are FREE - come and listen, or simply enjoy the music as you explore the surrounding galleries.

This month's Promenade Concerts (13.15 - 14.00)
Sunday 4 November | Teresa Pells and Ashok Gupta - soprano and piano
Music by Purcell, Arne, Linley, Vaughan Williams, Tippett and Walton
Sunday 11 November | Amphion Consort - instrumental ensemble
Music by Biber
Sunday 18 November | Madeleine Mitchell and Andrew Ball - violin and piano
Music by Elgar, Prokofiev, Alwyn, Nyman and Bridge: supported by the Alwyn Foundation and RCM Frank Bridge Bequest
Sunday 25 November | Scenes from Companions of Angels
A new oratorio by Rachel Stott and Tom Lowenstein, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Blake.

Note to visitors: To coincide with the 250th anniversary of William Blake's birth this month, several of Blake's etchings from Songs of Innocence and Experience and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell will be on display in Gallery 3 from 20 to 25 November 2007.


For more information on music at the Fitzwilliam Museum, see



OPEN TO ALL (space may be limited)

Art in Context

Ethiopian Encounters: Explorers and Collectors
Wednesday 7 November | 13:15 - 13:45
Given by Professor Simon Keynes, Trinity College, and Jane Munro, Senior Assistant Keeper of Paintings, Drawings and Prints, The Fitzwilliam Museum
Shiba Gallery (Gallery 14)

Scratching the Surface: A Brief Introduction to Cuneiform Script
Wednesday 14 November | 13.15 - 13.45
Given by Anders Bell, Research Assistant, Antiquities
Seminar Room

Am I not a man and a brother?' Josiah Wedgwood's Campaign Button
Wednesday 21 November | 13.15-13.45
Lydia Hamlett, Research Assistant
Mellon Gallery (Gallery 13)


Hughie O'Donoghue and the Poetry of Coincidence
Wednesday 28 November | 13.15-13.45
Gill Hart, Outreach & Access Officer
Adeane Gallery (Gallery 12)



 A Shared View

Saturday 10 November | 10.30 - 11.30
Start your Saturday focusing on two or three items in the Museum's collection with Julia Tozer, Head of Education. This is an informal tour with plenty of chance for discussion.
FREE - no booking required


Tuesday 13 November | 13.15-13.45
Simply turn up and enjoy a relaxed half-hour of looking at and talking about art, led by members of the Fitzwilliam Museum's education team.
FREE - no booking required
Meet in the Courtyard Entrance

Calligraphy Workshop: Meet the Goths

Friday 23 November | 10.30 - 15.00
Visit the exhibition Private Pleasures: Illuminated manuscripts from Persia to Paris with calligrapher Penny Price, study a Gothic script and try your hand at calligraphy.
£25 (£23 concessions), booking essential: telephone 01223 332904 or email




Families and Young People

StoryQuest 2007

Camille in the City
Saturday 10 November | 11.00 - 12.00

Find out what happens when a young girl from the country visits Paris for the first time. Paintings by Monet, Pissarro, Renoir and Seurat provide the images for the story. For accompanied children aged 5 and over.
FREE but booking essential: telephone 01223 332904 or email

Tales of Kings and Empires
Saturday 10 November | 14.30-15.30 (please note change of date)

Enjoy tales of mighty rulers, warrior kings and powerful armies from Ancient Egypt, China and Europe. For accompanied children aged 5 and over.
FREE but booking essential: telephone 01223 332904 or email


Snap Shots

Saturday 17 November | 10.30 - 13.00 for accompanied children 5 - 7
Saturday 17 November | 14.00 - 16.30 for 8 - 11 year olds

Visit our Ethiopian Encounters exhibition, see how artists recorded their travels before photography and make your own sketch book to draw in and take home with you. Materials provided.
£6 per child, booking essential: telephone 01223 332904 or email


Head Space

Saturday 24 November | 14.00-16.30

Ages 14-21: Drop in to talk about art with like-minded people. Visit the galleries then try out practical ideas in our Studio, with materials and refreshments provided.
FREE, no booking required
Meet in the Courtyard Entrance


It's Magic!

Tuesday 27 November | 10.00 - 11.30

A chance for pre-school children and their carers to look at some magical art, then have a go at making some of their own in our Education Studio.
FREE but booking essential: telephone 01223 332904 or email




Courtyard Cafe

The Fitzwilliam Museum's Courtyard Café and Shop offers visitors the perfect place to relax after a tour of the Museum's collections. The Courtyard Café has a wide variety of hot and cold food, and provides the ideal venue for a leisurely lunch, a glass of wine or afternoon tea. The adjacent Courtyard Shop contains a wide variety of Christmas goods, with exclusive Christmas cards ranging from the traditional to the unusual, featuring works from the Museum's collections. The shop also offers a varied selection of posters, cards, calendars, books and gifts for all ages, including a range of distinctive jewellery.




Mellon Gallery

Why not consider becoming a Friend of the Fitzwilliam Museum? Enjoy a range of benefits while supporting 'one of the greatest art collections of the nation´.








For further information about The Fitzwilliam Museum's collections, exhibitions, events and activities visit


We look forward to welcoming you to The Fitzwilliam Museum soon and hope that you will find your visit inspiring and enjoyable!