Cambridge – Fitzwilliam Museum (A Village Festival by Pieter Brueghel the Younger)

This painting by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564-1638) is my favourite in the Fitzwilliam Museum, with its full title being “a village festival with a theatrical performance and a procession in honour of St. Hubert and St. Anthony”. It was painted in 1632 and came into the collections of the Fitzwilliam in 1927 when it was donated by the first Viscount Rothermere. Actually, that’s an awkward thing for the museum, as the politics of Rothermere are controversial to say the least, but there’s not much that can perhaps be done by the museum about that now.

My photo of the painting isn’t great, but there’s so much going on that it’s like some epic by William Hogarth. It looks like a night out in the city centres of today, but then again, that’s often what fairs were like and the authorities were frequently appalled at what people got up to at them.