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The Lewis Collection: From Corpus Christi to the Fitzwilliam Museum

Following the Government announcement yesterday, museums and galleries in Cambridge will be closed to the public as part of a period of national/local restrictions. So, with great sadness, we will not be able to reopen as planned on 2 January 2021.

The Lewis Collection is currently housed in the Fitzwilliam Museum, on long-term loan from Corpus Christi College. The antiquarian collection, composed of over 4,000 individual pieces, ranges from coins to sculpture, pottery to prehistoric tools.

Here, we celebrate the man behind one of largest antiquarian collections to have remained in private ownership. The Rev. Samuel Savage Lewis was no ordinary college fellow. He went from student to farmer, back to student and then to College Librarian, in a period of sixteen years. His rooms in Corpus Christi College were his home for twenty years, but he could regularly be found abroad, visiting archaeological ruins and adding to his extensive collection. Every Sunday was spent traversing the Cambridgeshire countryside, as Lewis undertook his priestly duties. Although he was married to the famous Agnes Smith Lewis for the final four years of his life, this union had little effect upon his life in college. He returned to the marital home for breakfast and lunch, but otherwise Lewis remained faithful to his O staircase at Corpus Christi College.

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