Event information



Participating collections

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology 

Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Christ’s College
Museum of Classical Archaeology
The Fitzwilliam Museum
Cambridge University Herbarium
Kettle’s Yard
Queens’ College
The Polar Museum
Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences
Whipple Museum of the History of Science
ambridge University Library
Museum of Zoology


Image credits:

Header image: Astrolabe, gilt copper, purportedly by Johannes Bos of Rome, dated 1597, but now identified as a modern fake, c.1920, 100mm diameter, Whipple Museum of the History of Science


Below: Carved and painted wooden head, Southern Nigeria, Height 38 cm. Collected by Northcote W. Thomas, 1910, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Z 25889


Artist: Unknown brings together for the first time an extraordinary selection of anonymous art and artefacts from the University of Cambridge’s renowned museums and collections.

With objects spanning centuries and continents, the exhibition weaves together often hidden histories of artistic production, collection, marginalisation and colonialism, to explore why these makers’ identities have been unrecorded or lost to history.

From a mysterious 17th-century self-portrait to modern Inuit stone carvings, intricately embroidered samplers and elaborate forgeries of scientific instruments, each object bears witness to the creativity and skill of its unknown maker, inviting viewers to question the importance we place on authorship, and to rethink who we define as an ‘artist’