Museums Conservation United Kingdom

Fitzwilliam Museum spruces up

The Cambridge institution has restored its 1848 portico and repainted its railings to their original colours of gold and green

The iron railings along the wall on Trumpington Street, painted black for the past 100 years, have been returned to their original colours of gold and green, drawing attention to their spikes, curling acanthus leaves and giant pineapple finials. Photo: Sir Cam, © University of Cambridge

As befits the man who, when he was director, undertook the £6m refurbishment and restoration of Sir John’s Soane’s Museum in London, Tim Knox, now the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, has had the museum’s 1848 portico and railings restored.

The museum was designed by George Basevi (1794-1845), a pupil of Sir John Soane, and one of the leading neo-classical architectures of his generation. Costing £430,000, the restoration has saved the plaster coffering inside the portico, renewed the frieze and re-roofed the structure.

Most noticeably, the iron railings along the wall on Trumpington Street, painted black for the past 100 years, have been returned to their original colours of gold and green, drawing attention to their spikes, curling acanthus leaves and giant pineapple finials. The work was carried out by the specialist building contractors, Fairhurst Ward Abbotts.


The museum was designed by George Basevi (1794-1845), a pupil of Sir John Soane, and one of the leading neo-classical architectures of his generation. Photo: Sir Cam, © University of Cambridge
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