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October 2011

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Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence

5 October 2011 - 15 January 2012

Our extraordinary exhibition on the 17th-century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer opens this month.

The exhibition features Vermeer's famous painting The Lacemaker, on loan to the UK for the first time from the Musée du Louvre in Paris.

Look out for our special edition of e-news coming out on the opening day with exhibition highlights and upcoming events.

Splendour and Power: Imperial Treasures from Vienna

To 8 January 2012

Come prepared to be dazzled by these spectacular Renaissance and Baroque treasures fashioned from precious metals, rare stones and exotic materials.


Flower Drawings: Redouté and his Pupils

Extended to 20 November

A beautiful exhibition of flower drawings by Joseph-Pierre Redouté and his pupils.


Triumph, protection and dreams: The African headrest in context

To 21 January 2012

Used as pillows, hair protectors and status symbols, discover the function, design and development of headrests in Africa.

Part of Black History Month.


Work, rest and play: Women and children in prints after Chardin

To 4 March 2012

An exhibition looking at the printmakers who interpreted Chardin's popular canvases of domestic interiors into graphic art.



New special display:

England and the Dutch Republic in the age of Vermeer

4 October - 1 April 2012

Coins and medals from the 17th-century.



'Lost'- An opera at the Fitzwilliam Museum

Fri 28 October | 20.00 - 22.30

Enjoy a new opera composed for the Fitzwilliam by Toby Young. Follow the story as it unfolds throughout the galleries.

Part of the Festival of Ideas, tickets £5, click here to book online.

Does everything have an opposite?

Sat 29 October | 14.00 - 16.00

Join Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination artists to work with words, weaponry and ideas of revolution.  

FREE, to book tel. 01223 332904, email



Events and talks for Black History Month:

How Egyptians got a good night's sleep - The use of headrests in Ancient Egypt

Sat 1 October | 14.00 - 15.30

FREE, to book tel. 01223 332904, email

The Stephen Glanville Memorial Lecture 2011 - From Ancient Egyptian to East African Headrests

Sat 29 October | 14.00

FREE, to book tel. 01223 764362, email


African Beauty: Images and ideas in early modern Britain

Wed 5 October 2011 | 13.15 - 14.00

African headrests, hair combs and hair

Wed 19 October 2011 | 13.15 - 14.00



For information and locations of talks visit our website.


Vermeer's Women talks:

Telling Secrets: Vermeer’s Women and their world

Fri 14 October | 13.15 - 13.45

Love for sale in the 17th century: Secrets of the oldest profession

Fri 28 October | 13.15 - 13.45

Other talks:

The cost of eternal life: Chardin and his printmakers

Wed 12 October | 13.15 - 14.00

Rex Metallorum/King of Metals

Golden treasures in princely collections in the 16th and 17th centuries

Thu 13 October | 13.15 - 13.45

Making Money: The art, science and entrepreneurship of Matthew Boulton (1728 - 1809)

Fri 21 October | 13.15 - 14.00

Looking is Thinking: The visual analysis of paintings

Sat 22 October | 13.15 - 14.00

Artist's Pigments: All there in black and white

Wed 26 October | 13.15 - 14.00

Art Speak

Enjoy half an hour talking about art.

Tue 4 October | 13.15 - 13.45




To book an event tel: 01223 332904 or email:


Amulet or talisman - headrest ornamentation

Sat 15 October | 10.30 - 12.30

Ancient Egyptians wore decorative amulet headrests to protect themselves and promote health and vitality. Create your own headrest jewellery with fibre artist Arnisha Paxman.

Ages 8+, £5 per child

Free drop in events

Family First Saturdays

Sat 1 October | 14.00 - 16.00

Drawing materials, activities and trails.

The Big Draw: Drawing Together!

Sat 8 October | 12.00 - 16.00

Join Anglia Ruskin University artists for fun activities for all the family.

Drawing Together

Wed 26 October | 12.00 - 16.00

Drop in and draw at the museum.



Promenade Concerts

Enjoy free music recitals in the beautiful surroundings of the Museum's galleries.

Sundays | 13.15

Rosalind Ventris, viola & Sophia Rahman, piano

Bridge, Milhaud, Hindemith

Sun 9 October | 13.15 - 14.00

The Honorary Archway

Handel, Telemann, Vivaldi

Sun 16 October | 13.15 - 14.00

The Mulberry Piano Trio

Mozart, Frank Martin

Sun 23 October | 13.15 - 14.00

Katherine Watson, soprano & Michael Waldron, piano

Mozart, Debussy, Poulenc

Sun 30 October | 13.15 - 14.00



Cambridge Handel Festival

Sat 1 and Sun 2 October

In celebration of the Cambridge Handel Festival the Museum will be displaying three manuscripts by the famous composer in Gallery 3 over the festival weekend.

The sonatas on display will be performed as part of the festival in a concert in Little St Mary's Church on the Sunday.

For details of all concerts happening in the festival across Cambridge please visit the Cambridge Early Music website.


To book an event contact:

Tel: 01223 332904, Email:

General admission to the Museum is FREE

For full details of all events and workshops, visit our website at   

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Image credits

Banner: Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal (detail) c. 1670-2, © The National Gallery, London, Salting bequest, 1910

1. Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), The Lacemaker (detail), c.1669-70, Musée du Louvre, Paris, © Réunion des Musées Nationaux/ Gérard Blot.

2. Casket of gold filigree and diamonds Goa (India), mid 17th century (casket); late 17th or first third of the 18th century (diamond setting) © Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

3. Ewer from Emperor Franz I Stephan’s toilet set, c.1750 (detail) © Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

All other images © The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge