17 November 2016

Fitzwilliam Museum

If you have a chance to - go see 'Colour' at The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The museum is free and is quite simply one of the most wonderful museums I have ever been to. 'Colour' is an exhibition about the science, colour and history of illuminated manuscripts, and it was wonderful. The day's revelation was the rest of the museum: I saw paintings and drawings by many favourites: Stanley Spencer, Gwen John, Walter Sickert; a superb print by John Piper, ceramics by Lucie Rie, Edmund De Waal and the incomparable Bernard Leach. There were incredible funerary portraits in encaustic from Roman Egypt, which I had always wanted to see in the flesh. Heartbreakingly beautiful Syrian objects from places now sacked and destroyed by IS. I saw ancient Minoan pottery, which I adore, including some famously covered with marine life, such as their distinctive bold octopus motifs. There were stunning African portrait busts, pots and carvings from Nubia and Sudan; geometric, 'modern' and true, over five hundred years before the egos of Picasso and others of his era appropriated so much from so many. By the end of Tuesday I was drunk on beauty and needed to go home and rest my eyes on nothing much. The museum is free, and if you in the South of England, or are travelling from London, then if you book a week or two ahead, the train tickets are quite reasonable. It's a 20 minute walk from the station to the museum. The museum's online resources are also superb.

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