Festival of Ideas


22 October - 2 November 2008       

Special eNews edition



Welcome to a special edition of The Fitzwilliam Museum's eNews informing you about special events, exhibitions and workshops at the Fitz in association with Cambridge University's first-ever Festival of Ideas.


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





Preview of 'I turned it into a palace' 

'I turned it into a palace': Sir Sydney Cockerell and The Fitzwilliam Museum

Sunday 2 November | 12.00-17.00

A chance to see this exciting new exhibition before its official opening. 'I turned it into a palace' brings together the Museum's most spectacular treasures for the first time in celebration of one of the most dynamic periods in the Fitzwilliam's history: the Directorship of Sir Sydney Cockerell from 1908 to 1937.
Presenting a fascinating portrait of Cambridge at the turn of the century, this remarkably diverse exhibition includes works by the Pre-Raphaelites, William Blake and Samuel Palmer, with drawings by Boticelli, Rubens and Turner alongside Ancient Egyptian papyrus, orginal scores by Mozart and Scarlatti and literary autographs by Keats and Hardy, as well as treasures from the Museum's world-class collection of medieval illuminated manuscripts including the Macclesfield Psalter.



A series of free lunchtime talks - many in the galleries themselves - given by members of Cambridge University's History of Art Department and Fitzwilliam Museum Keepers 

Medieval Treasures in the Fitzwilliam

Wednesday 22 October | 13.15-13.45

An entertaining overview of the many artworks from the Middle Ages in the Museum's collection, in precious metals, ivory and book form.
With Professor Paul Binski, Professor of History of Medieval Art


Refreshingly Different: Mints and Coins

Thursday 23 October | 13.15-13.45

A look at early medieval coins as fascinating glittering documents shedding light on the Dark Ages and beyond.
With Dr. Anna Gannon, Affiliated Lecturer in History of Art


 History of Art talks

Sculpted Portraits in the 17th and 18th Centuries

Friday 24 October | 13.15-13.45

An exploration of Roubiliac's bust of Henry Herbert, John Bushnell's bust of Charles II and two busts by Rysbrack in the gallery.
With Dr. David Oldfield, Affiliated Lecturer in History of Art


The Fitzwilliam Museum: A Study in the Classical Language of Architecture

Tuesday 28 October | 13.15-13.45

Drawing on a range of antique architectural and sculptural sources, the architects George Basevi, C. R. Cockerell and E.M. Barry created a learned and inspiring classical masterpiece from 1836 to 1875.
With Professor David Watkin, Professor in the History of Architecture


Sex and Violence in Titian

Wednesday 29 October | 13.15-13.45

An examination in the gallery of three paintings in the Museum's collection: Tarquin and Lucretia, Venus and the Lute Player, and the copy of a lost Sleeping Nude of c.1520.
With Professor Paul Joannides, Department of History of Art


Italy and Islam

Thursday 30 October | 13.15-13.45

A discussion of the appearance of Islamic details such as costumes, textiles, carpets and metalwork in Italian Renaissance painting, considering the mechanisms by which these elements reached Italy.
With Professor Deborah Howard, Head of Department and Professor of Architectural History


Ancient Coins from the Black Sea

Friday 31 October | 13.15-13.45

A look at the new exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum Bordering the Black Sea: Greeks, Barbarians and their Coins, exploring the history of the Greek colonies on the shores of the Black Sea and their visual traditions through the remarkable imagery on their coinage.
With Dr. Adrian Popescu, Senior Assistant Keeper, Department of Coins and Medals


Dreams and Lies: Poetry and Politics in Picasso's Prints of the 1930s

Friday 31 October | 14.00-14.30 (please note different time)

Exploring Picasso's portfolio The Dreams and Lies of Franco - now on display at The Fitzwilliam Museum - as an extraordinary document of the artist's politcal and personal response to the Spanish Civil War.
With Craig Hartley, Senior Assistant Keeper, Department of Paintings, Drawings and Prints





Egypt at Twilight 

Egypt at Twilight

Wednesday 22 October | 18.30 - 20.00

Ages 8+: Enter the Museum after-hours and explore the Egyptian galleries by torchlight to discover ancient beliefs about life in the dark. Bring a torch!

FREE but booking essential: telephone 01223 332 904 or email 



'What's the Big Idea': Egypt

Sunday 26 October | 12.00-13.30

Ages 8+: Get inside the mind of someone living in Ancient Egypt by exploring our collection with a member of the Museum staff, and make work inspired by the experience to take home.

FREE but booking essential: telephone 01223 332 904 or email 

What's the Big Idea: Egypt


 The Big Draw

Taking a Line for a Walk

Wednesday 29 October | 11.00-16.00 (break between 13.00 and 14.00)

As part of nationwide 'Big Draw 2008' celebrations, come and engage with the Museum's collections - materials and suggestions for drawing activities around the Fitz will be available.

FREE, no booking required.






Writing Lives: Penelope Lively at The Fitzwilliam Museum

Thursday 23 October | 18.30 (doors open at 18.00)

Award-winning writer Penelope Lively will be considering the unexpected aspects of a writing life after 40 years as a writer, including a discussion of her new book, Consequences. Books will be on sale, and there will be a book signing after the event.

£8 (£6 concessions), booking essential
Book through ADC Theatre: free online booking at www.adcticketing.com, or telephone 01223 300085

Writing Lives


Meet the Experts

Meet the Experts

Saturday 25 October | 11.00 - 13.00

Get up close to Ancient Greek, Roman and Medieval Coins and find out more about the Portable Antiquities Scheme, guided by experts. Bring your local finds for identification.

FREE, no booking required



Find out about the Friends of the Fitzwilliam

Saturday 25 October | 14.30-16.00

Meet some active supporters of the Museum - who will celebrate their centenary in 2009 - in the Friends' Room, and see whether you would like to join in their programme of activities.

FREE, no booking required

 Find out about the Friends


Participating in the Arts

Evening event: 'Participating in the arts - a prescription for health improvement?'

Thursday 30 October | 18.30 (doors open 18.00)

Stephen Clift, Professor of Health Education at Canterbury Christchurch University and Director of the Sidney de Haan Centre for Arts and Health, discusses the relationship between mental health and the arts. There will also be the opportunity to view the Courtyard exhibition New Art from Old, a collaboration between the Museum and 'Arts and Minds' presenting new work inspired by the collections.

FREE but booking essential: telephone the Festival of Ideas at 01223 766766


The Materials of Inspiration

Friday 31 October | 14.00-16.00

Paintings have two basic ingredients: imagination and materials. Both are readily available, and this adult workshop with Spike Bucklow shows how to paint using things found in the back-yard.

FREE but booking essential: telephone 01223 332 904 or email 

 Materials of Inspiration



'What's the Big Idea': Creativity

Sunday 2 November | 13.30-16.00

It's playtime for grown-ups! Test out art materials and get creative in this workshop with Sally Brown and Suzanne Jasilek from Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination.

FREE but booking essential: telephone 01223 332 904 or email 






From the Land of the Golden Fleece:
Tomb Treasures of Ancient Georgia

A spectacular exhibition of 2000-year old tomb and temple treasures in gold, silver and bronze from Ancient Colchis.

Podcast now available at www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

In this new podcast, Fitzwilliam Museum Director Dr. Timothy Potts provides a personal introduction to this exhibition.


From the Land of the Golden Fleece


 Bordering the Black Sea

Bordering the Black Sea:
Greeks, Barbarians and their Coins

The first UK exhibition on this theme, this special display showcases extraordinary gold and silver coins from the Greek colonies on the shores of the Black Sea.


Dreams and Lies:
Picasso Prints from the Collection of The Fitzwilliam Museum

An exhibition presenting Picasso's portfolio Dreams and Lies of Franco, an extraordinary document of the artist's political and personal reaction to the Spanish Civil War. (Image: Pablo Picasso, Dreams and Lies of Franco, 1937. © Succession Picasso/DACS)

Dreams and Lies


 Palaces in the Night

Palaces in the Night:
The Urban Landscape in Whistler's Prints

A remarkable and atmospheric collection of the city views for which Whistler is most celebrated as a printmaker, including his visions of Venice, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.


The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and Lady Nevell's Book

The most important anthology of 16th and early 17th century English keyboard music in existence is here displayed side-by-side for the first time with William Byrd's collection of virginal music, on loan from the British Library.

Fitzwilliam Virginal Book


For full details of all events and exhibitions at the Museum during the Festival of Ideas, visit:



Get regular updates from The Fitzwilliam Museum's website by subscribing to our new RSS Feeds. For more information, see www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/news/feeds.html



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