Fitzwilliam Museum

I went to the celebration of the re-hang of Gallery 3 at the Fitzwilliam, the so-called Founder’s Gallery at the top of the staircase at the heart of Basevi’s original scheme, but completed by C.R. Cockerell after Basevi fell through the floor of the bell chamber in the West Tower of Ely Cathedral:-

In 1848, when the Museum was first opened, the gallery was hung floor to ceiling. Sydney Cockerell added a balcony for the display of drawing. When Michael JaffĂ© became Director in 1974, he hung it with tomato coloured silk. Now it has been hung with a more sober and darker coloured purple fabric (they call it maroon). Anyway, it looks very fine and the ceiling has been converted from a colour which Luke Syson described in his speech as somewhere between toenails and a pub saloon to a more pristine white. It’s a suitable setting for the Gallery’s amazing collection of seventeenth-century portraits, including Carlo Dolci’s portraits of Finch and Baines:-

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