Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum completes work on historic ceiling
Work is completed on one of the grandest museum interiors in the world
The Fitzwilliam Museum has announced the completion of a major building conservation project to the main entrance of the Founder’s Building.
Completed in 1848, the Fitzwilliam Museum’s founder’s building was designed by Neoclassical architect George Basevi and is one of the grandest museum interiors in the world.
The maintenance and preservation of its historic fabric is of national importance. As a Grade 1 listed building, it is a priority to ensure it will remain resilient and sustainable for centuries to come.
The project was funded by the Fitzwilliam and the University of Cambridge and employed specialist building contractors, alongside an architect to carry out the year-long project.
The contractors have restored the domed lantern; the highlight of the Fitzwilliam Museum’s Main Entrance Hall, with Fitzwilliam conservators acting in an advisory role. A temporary ceiling canopy has been in place for the last year to allow access to the lantern and decorative scheme of the ceiling.
Conservation work to the internal 18th century decorative scheme and plasterwork has included:
• To gild and restore the original ceiling design to its former glory
• To return vents in the domed lantern to their original Victorian design • Replace broken panes of curved glass in the lantern and make it water tight
• Secure the lantern balustrade and repair
The final stage concentrated on reducing the carbon footprint of the Museum by installing LED lighting, designed to be both environmentally and economically beneficial, a vital element for the building’s future sustainability.
The Fitzwilliam Museum’s assistant director, Kate Carreno said: “The Fitzwilliam is a historic Cambridge landmark, internationally recognised for its importance and beauty.
“This restoration will ensure the safety and sustainability of this much-loved building on the famous Cambridge skyline.”