Careering around in Cambridge, king hit in Kings College Chapel and filled with awe in the Fitzwilliam

Today we drove three quarters of a kilometre to a city car park and walked our little feet off  all over the ancient university city of Cambridge. Like Bologna, Padua and Oxford, Cambridge can lay claim to being one of Europe’s earliest universities. It is a beautiful city with its university colleges, impressive shopping centre, lovely river and boats and quite stunning Art Gallery, the Fitzwilliam Gallery.  Cambridge has more churches per square foot than any town I have ever been in even Rome!  Cambridge also has the most amazing bookshop Waterstones with four floors of wonderful books to browse in. Like being in Oxford with the martyrs shrine to Latimer and Hughes it is moving to be in Cambridge where so many Christian movements for evangelism came from and so many effective scholars laboured including Simeon, the Cambridge Seven, Lewis who worked at both Oxford and Cambridge and J B Lightfoot.

Great St Mary's Church in Cambridge

Great St Mary’s Church in Cambridge

Interior of Great St Mary's ..a church based on preaching with a four storey pulpit

Interior of Great St Mary’s ..a church based on preaching with a four storey pulpit

Holy Trinity Church ...a bit grey and gloomy and unfortunately not open to us

Holy Trinity Church …a bit grey and gloomy and unfortunately not open to us

Ancient St Botolph's interior. A church has stood on this site since the C12th

Ancient St Botolph’s interior. A church has stood on this site since the C12th

The Round Church in Cambridge based on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

The Round Church in Cambridge based on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem

Cambridge is of course also loaded up with amazing University colleges with their own grounds, lecture theatres, quarters for students and amazing facilities. It is a place where one feels like going back to university for the pure enjoyment of the environment; it is also a place of a thousand bikes per 100metres.

Pembroke College Cambridge

Pembroke College Cambridge

St John's College Cambridge

St John’s College Cambridge

Cambridge streetscape with the towers of Kings College in the distance

Cambridge streetscape with the towers of Kings College in the distance

Central courtyard of Kings College Cambridge inside the street entrance

Central courtyard of Kings College Cambridge inside the street entrance

Front tower of Kings College from inside the courtyard

Front tower of Kings College from inside the courtyard

Statue in the centre of the central courtyard of Kings College Cambridge

Statue in the centre of the central courtyard of Kings College Cambridge

Cows on the common of Kings College

Cows on the common of Kings College

Of course the standout building in Kings College and perhaps in Cambridge is the C15th Chapel of Kings so famous for its choral work especially its annual Christmas Carol service which requires considerable effort to obtain tickets for. It is in many ways a simple Gothic construction based to a degree on the St Chapelle Chapel in Paris with its high straight stained glass windows.  The view is interrupted by the remarkable vault holding the large organ in the centre of the Chapel. The fan vaulting in the ceiling is remarkable as are the highly carved choir stalls. The Communion table is simple and dominated by the large Rubens painting “The Adoration of the Magi” above.  There is a brilliant explanation of the Chapel’s history and political ups and downs  in a side corridor. Of particular interest is the link with the Eton chapel and St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

KIngs College Chapel Cambridge facing the street which is actually the rear of the building.

KIngs College Chapel Cambridge facing the street which is actually the rear of the building.

The front towers of Kings College Chapel facing the green common

The front towers of Kings College Chapel facing the green common

The front entrance to Kings College Chapel

The front entrance to Kings College Chapel

Easily recognised construction of Kings College Chapel in Cambridge

Easily recognised construction of Kings College Chapel in Cambridge

Detail of side door of Kings College Chapel by which casual visitors enter

Detail of side door of Kings College Chapel by which casual visitors enter

More external detail of Kings College Chapel

More external detail of Kings College Chapel

Interior view of Kings College Chapel as you enter with the organ loft dominating the view forward

Interior view of Kings College Chapel as you enter with the organ loft dominating the view forward

Ornately carved choir stalls in Kings College chapel

Ornately carved choir stalls in Kings College chapel

Close up of amazing fan vaulted ceiling in Kings College Chapel

Close up of amazing fan vaulted ceiling in Kings College Chapel

Close up of organ loft in Kings College Chapel

Close up of organ loft in Kings College Chapel

Rubens

Rubens “The Adoration of the Magi” hanging over the communion table in Kings College Chapel Cambridge

The Honourable Richard Fitzwilliam, 7th Viscount of Merrion (1745-1816) bequeathed his substantial art collection, library and the substantial sum of 100 000 pounds to provide “a good substantial museum repository” for the collection. The collection has grown through the years and a further generous bequest i 1908 by Charles Brinsley enabled the Gallery to be doubled in size.  The original building has a fine Palladian external appearance and the entry foyer and staircase with the dome is simply stunning.

Richard being stunned in the Fitzwilliam Gallery entry foyer

Richard being stunned in the Fitzwilliam Gallery entry foyer

Palladian exterior of the Fitzwilliam Gallery and Museum in Cambridge

Palladian exterior of the Fitzwilliam Gallery and Museum in Cambridge

Sculptures in the ceiling of the entrance to the Fitzwilliam Gallery in Cambridge

Sculptures in the ceiling of the entrance to the Fitzwilliam Gallery in Cambridge

There are even caryatids in the Foyer

There are even caryatids in the Foyer

Amazing foyer ceiling and staircase under the dome

Amazing foyer ceiling and staircase under the dome

Everyone sees different things in a Gallery/Museum. The Fitzwilliam is brilliantly curated and the setting is majestic. At the moment there is a “personal treasures” exhibition which includes all of those things that folk of different ages have seen as desirable for their homes since earliest times. In addition there is Ruskin’s contribution of 48 paintings by Turner beautifully displayed and annotated and a very detailed display of English landscape painting and on loan from the V & A the Gilbert collection of jewellery and trinket boxes.  A further highlight is the Rothschild Michelangelo sculptures. Their origin is contested but a powerful defence of their authenticity is mounted with the display and in any case both pieces are stunning.   All of this is in addition to a remarkable art collection of all periods, strong in French impressionism, mediaeval Italian and of course English artists of all periods as well as a large number of bronzes and sculptures of both G E Moore and Jacob Epstein.  This is in addition to very significant holdings of early Greek, Roman and Egyptian artefacts of the highest standard especially the Egyptian sarcophagi and the Greek vases. All in all this is a stunning gallery indeed.  A very personal selection with limited photographic skills is included here….wonderfully curated gallery..needs a week. We gave it two hours!

Collection of animal bronzes

Collection of animal bronzes

Ann amongst the French Impressionists

Ann amongst the French Impressionists

love the cabinets ..cannot stay away from the extraordinary workmanship in these units. This I think is Bouille but I have seen too many to be sure

love the cabinets ..cannot stay away from the extraordinary workmanship in these units. This I think is Bouille but I have seen too many to be sure

A whole room full of Dutch floral still lifes. I am not familiar with individual artists but this work stuns me.

A whole room full of Dutch floral still lifes. I am not familiar with individual artists but this work stuns me.

A cabinet full of G E Moore bronzes just lousy photography

A cabinet full of G E Moore bronzes just lousy photography

G E Moore again...wonderful

G E Moore again…wonderful woman with baby and ball

Jacob Epstein sculpture of Einstein (Epstein did the Christ in Majesty at Llandaff Cathedral)

Jacob Epstein sculpture of Einstein (Epstein did the Christ in Majesty at Llandaff Cathedral)

The two contested Rothschild Michelangelo bronzes closely under guard

The two contested Rothschild Michelangelo bronzes closely under guard

Picasso

Picasso

Two Pre-Raphaelites: Rossetti

Two Pre-Raphaelites: Rossetti “Joan of Arc” and Millais “The Bridesmaid”

Huge Rameses 11? sarcophagus lid

Huge Rameses 11? sarcophagus lid

Renoir to die for

Renoir to die for

Sutherland

Sutherland “The Deposiiton”. I am not normally into abstract art in a big way but this painting spoke to me of the spiritual anguish of the Cross and the universe changing action that took place there

Svorzesca 1490 -94

Svorzesca 1490 -94 “Jesus saviour of the world” again to have Christ holding a glass globe of the world (hard to see in my photo) says it right for me

William Blake

William Blake “Count Ugalino and his sons in Prison”. Blake is so startling in everything he does. There are three small Blakes in the Fitzwilliam

Luini Angel child playing the flute. Never really thought of child angels...

Luini Angel child playing the flute. Never really thought of child angels…

Millais again:

Millais again: “Cherry Ripe”

Hendrik ter Brugghen : Woman with lute

Hendrik ter Brugghen : Woman with lute

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2 Responses to Careering around in Cambridge, king hit in Kings College Chapel and filled with awe in the Fitzwilliam

  1. Christine Woolley says:

    Did You go to Christ College? When I was with Billy I stayed there, went to a Chapel service and dined in the dinning hall with the high table. That’s where Billy got me to say G’day when we walked in 😏 loved the punts on the river.

    • raprideaux says:

      HiChris good to hear from you when you are so busy. We didn’t get to Christ College. So many amazing colleges. Last time it was pouring rain in Cambridge and we had a very unsatisfactory time. This time we just relaxed and wandered and loved it. I really felt like I would like to go back and be a student here for a year. It would be wonderful.
      Only a week to go now and feeling a bit sad it is nearly over. So long in the planning and so quick in the doing. Hope your term is finishing well and the planning is going ok for your trip. Nom will be getting excited now.

      cheers Richard

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