William Blake’s Universe

Open now

23 February 2024 - 19 May 2024

Pay what you wish

Our exhibitions and displays remain free but you can now choose to make a donation.

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Discover William Blake’s universe and a constellation of European artists seeking spirituality in their lives and art in response to war, revolution and political turbulence.

Sometimes seen as an eccentric figure or lone genius, 'William Blake’s Universe' is the first exhibition to explore Blake’s boundless imagination in the context of wider trends and themes in European art including romanticism, mysticism and ideas of spiritual regeneration.

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This timely new exhibition brings together the largest-ever display of works by the radical British artist, printmaker and poet from our own collection, alongside artworks by his European contemporaries such as the German romantic painters Philipp Otto Runge and Caspar David Friedrich – many of which have never been displayed publicly in the UK until now.  

Though these artists never met or connected in their lifetimes, Blake, Runge and Friedrich shared a strong sense of individuality and an unwavering belief in the power of art to redeem a society in crisis.  

Pay what you wish for your exhibition visit, every donation makes a big difference. Find out more about our new ‘Pay What You Wish’ scheme.

Exhibition in partnership with Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany.

William Blake’s Universe is generously supported by the William Blake Trust, the Huo Family Foundation and the Fitzwilliam Museum Development Trust. We're also grateful to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation whose grant made a vital contribution to the production of the exhibition catalogue.  

William Blake’s works of art contain themes and imagery that include some depictions of suffering, sexual violence and enslavement.

Hero image: Detail of William Blake, William Blake after Henry Fuseli, Head of a Damned Soul, c. 1788 – 90, engraving and etching on paper, © The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge.  

FAQs

Booking is required for our exhibitions. We recommend you book in advance but you may also book tickets on the day of your visit. We are no longer ticketing for general admission, you're welcome to just turn up. 

Yes. Tickets for our exhibitions remain free but you now have the option to pay what you wish when booking. Save time on arrival and pre-book your ticket for our exhibitions now. 

About your visit

 

I'm a Friend or Marlay Group member, do I still need to book a ticket?

No. If you're a Friend of the Fitzwilliam or a member of The Marlay Group, you don't need to book a ticket, simply bring along your card on the day and scan it to enter the exhibition. 

Can I book a group visit? 

For groups larger than 10, please contact our events team.

Can I change the date of my booked ticket?

If you're not longer able to make the date and time you booked, please contact us by email: tickets@museums.cam.ac.uk

How do I book a school visit? 

For school bookings, please contact our learning team: education@fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

How do I enter the Museum? 

You can enter the Museum via the Founder’s Entrance (step access) or the Courtyard Entrance (step-free access) where you will be greeted by a member of our welcome team. 

Where can I book an exhibition ticket on the day?

Walk-up tickets can be booked at the Courtyard Entrance (step-free access) on arrival.  You may need to wait during busy times. Please note that our waiting area is outside. Book in advance here. 

Where can I find information about accessibility?

We provide full details on our accessibility and facilitiesIf you have any special access requirements, please contact us: fitzmuseum-access@cam.ac.uk or 01223 332900 and we'll be happy to help. 

Is photography allowed? 

You may take photographs in the Museum other galleries for non-commercial, personal use only. Full details of our photography and filming policy are available. 

Will you be giving out maps?

Museum maps are available at both entrances. 

What events are taking place? 

We have a range of exhibition-related talks and events taking place at the Museum, you can view our what’s on programme. 

I'm a member of the press, where can I find more information about exhibitions?

If you have a media enquiry about exhibitions, or want to request images and footage for use in the press, please contact our press team. 

 

William Blake's Universe

 

Is this exhibition suitable for children?

Our exhibitions are open to everyone. Please be advised William Blake’s works of art contain themes and imagery that include some depictions of suffering, sexual violence and enslavement. 

Are there racist objects and artworks in the exhibition? If so why? 

Some artworks, and the text that describes them, include outdated racist and derogatory terminology. Where works with offensive or difficult imagery are displayed, we seek to provide our visitors with an interpretation that addresses this imagery, places the work in a historical context and offers critical perspectives. 

 To give you a choice over whether you view these objects, they will be displayed in cases with clear content notices. 

Are there other objects and artworks that could be upsetting or offensive? 

William Blake’s works of art contain themes and imagery that include some depictions of suffering, sexual violence and enslavement. There are content notices displayed at relevant points in the exhibition. 

 

Pay what you wish 

 

Do I need to make a donation to view the exhibition?

No, entry to the Museum and our displays remains free.  

Can I donate through the ‘Pay What You Wish’ scheme online? 

Yes, you can donate online when you book your ticket. At the checkout, simply enter the amount you wish to pay or choose from our selection of suggested donations.  

Can I donate in-person? 

Yes, there are multiple cash and contactless donation points throughout the Museum. 

Why are you introducing the ‘Pay What You Wish’ scheme now? 

We have introduced the scheme now because your donations are more important than ever.  

 Income generation through donations is vital for the delivery of all areas of our work but without your help, we can no longer continue to plan, research and produce award-winning exhibitions of this scale and importance.  

What is my donation helping to fund? 

Your donation will be used to help fund all areas of our work including the conservation and care of our collection, the delivery of our award-winning exhibitions, our research, learning, community and events programmes, as well as the maintenance of our Grade I listed building.  

Is the Fitzwilliam Museum a registered charity?  

We operate as an Institution within the University of Cambridge, which is an exempt charity in the UK, subject to regulation by the Office for Students (OfS) under the Charities Act 2011 

What is the lowest amount I can donate? 

You can choose to donate as little or as much as you wish. 

What do I receive for making a donation? 

Your donation is a gift for charity. In return, we hope you enjoy the research, education, conservation, acquisitions, exhibitions and collections that have been made possible through your act of generosity. 

The Fitzwilliam Museum - William Blake’s Universe
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