Christmas and New Year 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.

Unable to view this month's eNews or to see images? Please click on `allow images´, or `display non-secure items´.



Brand-new Podcast from the Fitzwilliam Museum : Director Duncan Robinson introduces the exhibition From Reason to Revolution: Art and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Joseph Wright's A Lighthouse on Fire

The Fitzwilliam Museum's new exhibition podcast is now available to listen to online! In this audio recording, the Museum's Director Duncan Robinson provides a personal introduction to From Reason to Revolution: Art and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain, in the Fitzwilliam's Mellon Gallery. The Director, who curated the exhibition along with Museum colleagues, gives a fascinating insight into his own enthusiasm for the art and history of the Eighteenth Century, before inviting the listener to 'enter the gallery' itself for a guided audio tour around the exhibits. The podcast is accompanied by a slideshow of images from the exhibition to illustrate the tour, and can either be listened to on your computer or downloaded via iTunes onto your iPod and taken into the exhibition itself.
The podcast will also be available on eGuide, the Museum's free audio-visual guides on hand-held computer, which can be booked out from the Cloakroom at the Courtyard Entrance. The guide also provides a multi-level, interactive introductory tour of highlights of the Museum’s collections.

To listen to the From Reason to Revolution podcast, visit:


Antony Gormley sculpture on display in the Fitzwilliam Museum Courtyard

Antony Gormley sculptureThe Fitzwilliam Museum is pleased to announce the arrival of a sculpture by acclaimed artist and past Turner prize winner Antony Gormley, on loan to the Museum and on display in the Courtyard. The sculpture, Exergy II 2007, is constructed from stainless steel bars, and encloses the figure of a man within the structure. Exergy II 2007 was featured at the Hayward Gallery, London, as part of the recent exhibition Antony Gormley, Blind Light.

Antony Gormley's work has been exhibited throughout the world, and his solo shows have been displayed at institutions such as the British Museum, Tate, the Baltic and the Whitechapel Art Gallery. He won the prestigious Turner Prize in 1994 for his work Field for the British Isles, and was awarded an OBE in 1997. His 20m high sculpture Angel of the North in Gateshead is one of the most celebrated examples of contemporary sculpture in Britain.

Exergy II 2007 has been lent to the Museum by Marburg Ltd.


Restored Chinese vases reunited on public display at the Fitzwilliam Museum

VasesThree monumental late 17th-century Chinese vases, damaged last year at The Fitzwilliam Museum, are now back on public display following the complex process of restoration. A specially designed case, overlooking the staircase where the vases had originally been disaplyed for almost sixty years, now houses the imposing baluster jar - 80 cm in height and weighing approximately 45 kg - flanked by two slightly smaller porcelain vases. The restoration of the vases - suported by Cambridge law firm Hewitsons - was undertaken by Suffolk-based ceramic conservator Penny Bendall, and took six months to complete.

Find out more:




Courtyard Shop and CafeThis December, The Fitzwilliam Museum is the perfect place to explore world-class collections of art and antiquities, enjoy a festive concert, entertain the family, and even do your Christmas shopping.


The Museum’s Courtyard Shop is the ideal place to do your Christmas shopping away from the crowds. Our exclusive Christmas cards range from the traditional to the unusual, featuring works from the Museum’s collections. The shop also offers a wide selection of books, posters, cards, calendars, and gifts for all ages, including a range of distinctive jewellery. To refresh you after your festive shopping the Courtyard Café offers a wide variety of hot and cold food, and provides the ideal venue for a leisurely lunch, a glass of wine or afternoon tea.

Christmas Concert

Macclesfield Stag

Thursday 13 December | 19.30

The musical highlight of the Museum's festive calendar. The New Cambridge Singers perform a selection of seasonal favourites, amidst British art of the 16th-18th centuries in the splendid surroundings of Gallery 3.
Booking essential: tickets £15 (£12 concessions), available from Cambridge Arts Box Office, 6 St. Edward’s Passage, Cambridge CB2 3PJ. Telephone 01223 503333.

For more information, visit



Family Nativity Trail

Families can enjoy an enthralling Christmas journey around the Museum's collections: from 18 December until 6 January 2008, simply pick up a free Nativity Trail at the entrance desks. The Trail retells the Christmas story through paintings in the Museum's collection - follow the story through the galleries and find the angel Gabriel, Mary, baby Jesus, shepherds and wise men.

The Museum's 'Fitzkits' for young visitors are also available free all year round.


Do It Yourself! Christmas Craft workshops for families and children


For accompanied children aged 5-7:
Saturday 15 December | 11.00 - 13.00
Make your own Christmas decorations inspired by the collections using metal foils.

For children aged 8-11:
Saturday 15 December | 14.00 - 16.00
Get into the Christmas spirit and make pop-up cards influenced by the early Italian altarpieces in the collection.
£4 per child; all materials are provided. Booking essential - telephone 01223 332904, or email




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

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

A century of dynamic change is examined in this exhibition, where 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


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 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.





A Shared View


Saturday 8 December | 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 11 December | 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





'Our Killjoy Nation?'

Gin Lane

Saturday 8 December | 14.00 - 15.00
With Sean Bell, Secretary of The Brighton Salon
Seminar Room

A discussion of the role of excess - and its supression - in modern-day art and daily life, with opportunity for audience participation. From Antiquity, the arts have often depicted excess and celebration as vibrant forms of human behaviour, but are we now experiencing a 'New Puritanism' at the beginning of the twenty-first century?

Part of the 'Arts Alive' debate series, focusing on the arts, education, history and contemporary life.

No booking required - admission FREE. Suitable for ages 16+.




Families and Young People

It's Magic!

Tuesday 18 December | 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




Saturday 8 December | 11.00 - 15.00

A drop-in event exploring the Fitzwilliam Museum's fan gallery, with the opportunity to make your own fans in the studio. For families with children 5 and over.
FREE - no booking required








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´.








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