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Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 - 17:00
Sundays & Bank Holidays: 12:00 - 17:00

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Collection Highlights

The Fitzwilliam’s collection of over 18,000 drawings encompasses works by draughtsmen of all major European Schools from the 15th to the 21st century, as well as groups of Japanese and Chinese drawings and a fine collection of Indian miniature paintings.

Artists of the Italian, French, Dutch and Flemish schools are strongly represented and include superb drawings by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt, Watteau, Ingres, Degas and Picasso.

Notable among the museum’s holdings of drawings by British artists – numerically the most significant part of the collection - are remarkable groups of sketches and studies by George Romney (given by the artist’s son in 1818), William Blake and Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

The Fitzwilliam’s collection of watercolours is rightly celebrated and reflects the range and expressive potential of this most versatile of art forms.  It includes a magnificent range of British and American landscape watercolours by such artists as J.R. Cozens, Palmer, Sargent, Whistler and Paul Nash and a superb group of over fifty works by J.M.W. Turner, almost half of which were given in 1861 by the artist’s most fervent champion and critic, John Ruskin. 

The majority of the Indian and Persian paintings came from the collection of Percival Chater Manuk (1873-1946), a high court judge in Patna and pioneer collector of Indian paintings. Particular areas of strength are early Mughal paintings, drawings of the Isfahan school of the first half of the 17th century, and works of the Pahari and Company schools of painting.

Works on paper are fragile and damaged by continual exposure to light. The department has an active policy of organizing regularly changing exhibitions and displays from the collection throughout the year, supported by a related series of online resources.  Visitors can access works not on display by appointment in the Graham Robertson Study Room.

 

Online Resources for Watercolours & drawings

 

Projects

  • Degas: A Passion for Perfection

    In October 2017, the Fitzwilliam Museum will mark the centenary of Edgar Degas's death with an exhibition that will bring into focus its holdings of works by the artist. Consisting of paintings, drawings, pastels, etchings, monotypes, counterproofs and sculpture in bronze and wax, the Fitzwilliam's collection is the most extensive and representative in the UK. The wide range of media offers the opportunity to examine Degas’s relentless desire to experiment and reinvent, an aspect of his artistic practice that some attributed to chronic self-doubt; others to a ‘passion for perfection’.

Online Exhibitions

  • Searle and caricature – responses from caricaturists today

    From 13 October 2015 to 31 January 2016, the Fitzwilliam Museum hosted two exhibitions on caricaturists and visual satire - Ronald Searle: ‘Obsessed with drawing’ and Cradled in Caricature: Visual humour in satirical prints and drawings.

     

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