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Join the Fitz on


October 2017



Free admission. Open: Tue to Sat 10.00 - 17.00, Sun & Bank Holiday Mondays 12.00 - 17.00. Closed: Mondays



*NEW* Degas: a passion for perfection

3 October 2017 – 14 January 2018
Galleries 11, 12 & 13

After a career spanning over half a century, Degas died in September 1917, in his eighty-third year. This exhibition marks the centenary of the artist’s death with a celebration of his lifetime’s achievement.

A remarkable range of work – paintings, pastels, drawings, watercolours, prints of different types, counterproofs and sculptures in bronze and wax - reveal Degas’s fascination with technical experimentation and constant drive to expand his means of expression.

Degas: a passion for perfection provides a chance to see the Fitzwilliam's holdings of works by the artist – the most extensive and representative in the UK, alongside significant international loans.

The exhibition will highlight many of the themes most prominent in Degas’s work, as well as his artistic legacy.

Organised by the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, in association with Denver Art Museum.
> More

*NEW* Codebreakers and Groundbreakers

24 October 2017 – 4 February 2018
Gallery 10

A pioneering and interdisciplinary exhibition, Codebreakers and Groundbreakers will bring together, for the first time, the remarkable intellectual achievements and parallel narratives of two groups of ‘codebreakers’ working at the same time, but independently: those involved in breaking the Second World War codes and those who deciphered the ancient script of Linear B – Europe’s earliest comprehensible writing system.

In a display including an Enigma machine, a rare loan from GCHQ, and unique archival documents held at the University of Cambridge, the exhibition will explore and celebrate the genius of Second World War codebreakers such as Alan Turing and Bill Tutte; as well as Michael Ventris and John Chadwick (himself a Bletchley codebreaker) who deciphered Linear B. It will also encourage visitors to explore ‘codebreaking’ in all its forms.
> More




*NEW* Terra Firma

24 October 2017 – 4 February 2018
Gallery 8

Artist Pallavi Paul’s installation considers the mechanics and practices of truth production. The central motif of the ‘secret’ invites visitors to engage with ideas of espionage, secrecy and the world of information by viewing, reading and walking on this artwork. This textual landscape, composed visually to look like code, responds to the Codebreakers and Groundbreakers exhibition.

Terra Firma is co-commissioned by University of Cambridge Museums and Wysing Arts Centre with support from Diversity Art Forum.
> More

*NEW* Currencies of Conflict: siege and emergency money from antiquity to WWII

31 October 2017 – 23 February 2018
Gallery 33

Sieges have been a common feature of warfare for most of recorded history, with emergency money in the form of coins or paper being made for the use of the defending garrison or local people. This display throws new light on the story of these emergency currencies from the ancient Greek world to the Second World War.
> More



Degas, Caricature and Modernity: Daumier, Gavarni, Keene

Until 4 January 2018
Gallery 14

Edgas Degas (1834-1917) possessed what his friend Walter Sickert (1860-1942) described as ‘a rollicking and somewhat bear-like sense of fun’. This exhibition looks at three caricaturists and satirists whose work Degas admired and collected in large numbers: Honoré Daumier (1808-79), Paul Gavarni (1804-66) and Charles Keene (1823-91).
> More

Degas’s Drinker: portraits by Marcellin Desboutin

Until 25 February
Gallery 16

Edgar Degas’s famous painting In a Café (L’Absinthe, 1875-6), features a dissolute bearded man whom Degas modelled on his characterful friend and fellow artist Marcellin Desboutin (1832-1902). Both men shared a passion for printmaking and this exhibition explores the Museum’s rare collection of Desboutin’s sensitively executed prints in drypoint.
> More


 Art Noveau medal

Henry Moore sculpture

Peace and War: 1900-1940

Until 29 October
Gallery 33

Between 1900 and 1940 France was at the heart of artistic innovation in Europe, and it gave the world the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. France was also locked into a struggle for supremacy with Germany, in two World Wars. Medals from France and Germany powerfully illustrate this conflict, and the arts of peace.
> More

Henry Moore’s Hill Arches (1973)

Until November
Front lawn

With Hill Arches, Moore has created a landscape in its own right – perhaps, as the title suggests, an echo of the rolling hills of his native Yorkshire. The sculpture, from the Henry Moore Foundation, sits on the front lawn.
> More


Sampled Lives: Samplers from the Fitzwilliam Museum

Until 8 April 2018
Gallery 34

Showcasing over 100 samplers from the Museum’s excellent but often unseen collection, this display highlights the importance of samplers as documentary evidence of past lives.

These beautifully embroidered and stitched samplers illuminate the lives of girls and women, from mid-17th century English Quakers to early 20th century school pupils.
> More

The Frua-Valsecchi collection

Over 130 works of art from the collection of Francesca and Massimo Valsecchi now populate the galleries on long term loan. Pieces on display include the nude portrait of Patricia Preece by Stanley Spencer, William Burges’s painted ‘Flax and Wool’ cabinet and Art Nouveau Tiffany glass. The pieces can be identified by their special labels.
> More



Tour of the Museum

Saturdays: 14.30 - 15.30

A one-hour tour of the collections with a Cambridge Badge Guide.

Tickets may be bought from the Guide or in advance through Cambridge Visitor Information Centre, tel. 01223 791501,
> More



Free, admission is by token, 1 per person, available at the Courtyard Entrance desk from 12.45 on the day, unless otherwise stated. Induction loop available.

Curator’s introduction to Degas: a passion for perfection

Wed 4 October: 13.15 – 14.00 & 15.00 - 15.45

Jane Munro, Keeper of Paintings Drawings and Prints, and Exhibition Curator.
Meet in Gallery 12.
> More

Keynes and collecting Degas in Britain and Cambridge

Wed 11 October: 13.15 – 14.00

Professor Jean Michel Massing, Emeritus Professor of Art History.
Meet in Gallery 12.
> More

Degas's sculptures: how truthful are they to his artistic intentions?

Wed 18 October: 13.15 – 14.00

Dr Victoria Avery, Keeper of Applied Arts.
Part of the Festival of Ideas.



Truth and artists’ intention

Fri 20 October: 13.15 – 14.00

Dr Spike Bucklow, Senior Research Scientist, Hamilton Kerr Institute.
Part of the Festival of Ideas.
> More

Curators’ introduction to Codebreakers and Groundbreakers

Wed 25 October: 13.15 – 14.00 & 15.00 - 15.45

Dr Anastasia Christofilopoulou (Fitzwilliam Museum), Dr Yannis Galanakis (Faculty of Classics) & Dr James Grime (Mathematician and Public Speaker).
Part of the Festival of Ideas.
> More

Terra Firma: a conversation with Pallavi Paul

Fri 27 October: 13.15 – 14.00

Artist Pallavi Paul, in conversation about her new work Terra Firma.
Part of the Festival of Ideas.
> More

Art Speak

Tue 31 October: 13.15 - 13.45

Enjoy half an hour looking at and talking about art. No token necessary.
> More




Resource: Degas’s figures in motion

Sat 14 October: 11.00 - 13.00
13 – 18 yrs

Want to learn life drawing? Join guest artist Caroline Wendling to study the poise and grace of the human form in Degas’s work. Create your own sketches in the gallery and return to the studio to develop your art using oil pastels.
> More & how to book

Make: Degas’s dance, dance, dance!

Sat 14 October: 14.00 - 16.00
11 - 13 yrs

How do you draw people dancing? Join guest artist Caroline Wendling to look at the Degas exhibition for inspiration. Create your own sketches in the gallery, then develop these in the studio using a range of art materials similar to those used by Degas.
> More & how to book



Family First Saturday

Sat 7 October: 14.00 – 16.00

Drop-in on the first Saturday of the month and join us for activities and art-making on the theme of the art of Degas.
Free, no booking required
> More

Family Film Festival at the Arts Picturehouse

Mon 23 October: 10.00 – 12.00
All ages

To celebrate the beauty and movement of our Degas exhibition we have teamed up with the Family Film Festival to show the iconic short film Red Balloon. The film will be followed by art activities.
> More & how to book

True colours

Wed 18 October: 10.00 – 11.00 &
13.30 – 14.30

3 – 5 yrs

Through playful, art-based activities and carefully-chosen picture books, we will ask: does everything have a colour? Is seeing the only way to experience a colour? Do colours look and feel the same to everyone?
Part of the Festival of Ideas.
> More & how to book

Script Detectives: decoding ancient writing

Thu 26 October: 13.00 – 14.00
7 – 11 yrs

Ancient writings are effectively codes that we have been trying to 'break' for hundreds of years. Dr Pippa Steele, director of the CREWS Project (Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems), explains how we decipher ancient inscriptions and shows you how to write your own secret messages in ancient scripts.
> More & how to book

Codes in clay

Sat 28 October: 10.30 – 12.30
8 –12 yrs

Visit the Codebreakers and Groundbreakers exhibition and then create your own message in clay, led by Dr Anna Judson and members of the CREWS project (Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems).
> More & how to book




The truth about modelling in wax

Wed 25 October: 10.15 - 12.00

Degas created a series of sculptures in wax that he intended as finished artworks rather than part of a casting process. Visit the Degas exhibition and then discover the versatility of wax in this practical introduction to modelling in wax workshop.
Part of the Festival of Ideas.
> More & how to book

Life drawing class

Sun 29 October: 10.45 - 13.00

An opportunity to draw in pencil from a life model within the Degas exhibition with tutor Pam Smy.
£25 (£20 concessions and Friends)
> More & how to book



Enjoy a free classical concert in the beautiful surroundings of Gallery 3 at the weekend. Admission is by token, 1 per person, available at the Founder’s Entrance desk on a first-come first-served basis from 12.00 on the day of the concert. Space is limited – no standing room available. Voluntary collection after each concert. Programmes may be subject to change.

Mulberry Trio

Sun 8 October

Paul Seddon (violin), Vivian Williams (cello) and John Richens (piano) perform Roberto Gerhard’s Trio and Niels Gade’s Novelletten.
> More

Musicke in the Ayre presents Singing ladies of Ferrara

Sun 15 October

Directed by Paula Downes.
> More

Music for piano

Sun 22 October

Agnes Wan (piano) performs pieces by Purcell, Hadyn, Chopin, Schumann and Prokoviev.
> More

Music for clarinet and strings

Sun 29 October

Jon Fistein (cello), Konrad Wagstyl & Sam Alberman (violins), Tom Taylor (viola) and Sarah Bowden (clarinet) perform Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet and works by Stravinsky for clarinet and string quartet.
> More




Opera: Passion, Power & Politics

Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Until 25 February 2018

Told through the lens of seven premieres in seven European cities, this landmark exhibition takes you on an immersive, audio-visual journey through 400 years of opera. The exhibition includes the Fitzwilliam Museum's bust of Handel by Roubiliac.
> More


Soutine’s Portraits: Cooks, Waiters and Bellboys

Courtauld Gallery, London
19 October 2017 – 21 January 2018

Discover the first exhibition in the UK on Soutine in over 35 years and the very first to exhibit this remarkable group of portraits of 1920’s cooks and waiting staff of French hotels and restaurants.
> More


Britten Sinfonia: At Lunch One

West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
Tue 21 November: 13.00

Britten Sinfonia’s lunchtime chamber series returns with a concert exploring some of today’s most exciting composers.  Curator Nik Bärtsch has set his latest work alongside works by Sarah Kirkland Snider and Judd Greenstein.
> Advance booking

Business Partners 2017

TTP Group plc, ACE Cultural Tours, Brewin Dolphin and Sotheby’s all lend their support to the Museum as 2017 Business Partners, enabling a dynamic calendar of exhibitions and events throughout the year.

General admission to the Fitzwilliam Museum is FREE

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

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All images © Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, unless otherwise stated

1. Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Dance Examination, 1880, Pastel on paper © Denver Art Museum
4. A passport photograph of Alan Turing of unknown date. Reproduced by kind permission of King's College Library, Cambridge. Formerly assembled by the Alan Turing Trust.
5, 16 & 19. Linear B tablet (details) © The Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
6. Pallavi Paul, image © Sahej Rahal
11. Hill Arches, 1973, bronze. The Henry Moore Foundation: gift of the artist 1977. Reproduced by permission of the Henry Moore Foundation.
14, 17 & 18. © Martin Bond
21. Image: Agnes Wan
22. Image: Jon Fistein
23. Image © V&A
24. Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943), Bellboy, around 1925, oil on canvas Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d’art moderne/Centre de création industrielle.
25. Nik Baertsch © Martin Moll