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Bible and Antiquity in Nineteenth-Century Culture

The Fitzwilliam Museum is a superb place to explore the Bible and antiquity, and the collisions and connections between them in the nineteenth century. Itself a monument in stone to the Victorian obsession with Greek and Roman culture, and to the acquisitive Europhile Grand Tourism of its founder, the seventh Viscount Fitzwilliam (1745–1816), its collections are testament to the continuing hold of these pasts over a self-consciously modern age. Moreover, the sheer range of items in the Fitzwilliam is such that we encounter objects representing all sides and aspects to Victorian culture – from the kitsch, factory-produced ceramics discussed later in this exhibition, through to Edward Burne-Jones’ elegant decorative roundels for a grand piano, based on the story of Orpheus.

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