Richard FitzWilliam, 7th Viscount FitzWilliam

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Lord FitzWilliam by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1764

Richard FitzWilliam, 7th Viscount FitzWilliam (1 August 1745 – 4 February 1816) was an Irish viscount in the FitzWilliam family, who was a benefactor and musical antiquarian. He founded the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England, with a bequest of his library and art collection on his death in 1816. He was also a significant urban developer during his time in Dublin, Ireland.


Lord FitzWilliam.

Richard FitzWilliam was baptised on 22 August 1745. He was the eldest son of Richard FitzWilliam, 6th Viscount FitzWilliam, and his wife Catherine Decker, daughter of Sir Matthew Decker, 1st Baronet, a wealthy Dutch-born merchant and his wife Henrietta Watkins. He was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, receiving an MA in 1764.[1] He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1789 and elected the second Member of Parliament for Wilton in Wiltshire from 1790 to 1806 when it still had two representatives. He succeeded to his father's title in 1776.

He developed part of south-east Dublin in the Georgian style. This included:

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, founded through a bequest of Richard FitzWilliam on his death.

Richard FitzWilliam mainly lived in Richmond near London, where his mother had inherited the estates of her father Sir Matthew Decker, but he made frequent visits to Mount Merrion House, south of Dublin. He left his large Irish estates to his first cousin's son, the 11th Earl of Pembroke, and his art collection and library to the University of Cambridge, together with funds to house them; this formed the Fitzwilliam Museum.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fitzwilliam, the Hon. Richard (FTSN761R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ "Publishing Music from the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge", Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 130.1 (2005) 38-73


Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Gerard Hamilton
Lord Herbert
Member of Parliament for Wilton
With: Lord Herbert to 1794
Philip Goldsworthy from 1794
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Wilton
1801 – Feb 1806
With: Philip Goldsworthy to 1801
John Spencer 1801–1804
Ralph Sheldon from 1804
Succeeded by
Charles Herbert
Ralph Sheldon
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Richard Fitzwilliam
Viscount FitzWilliam
Succeeded by
John FitzWilliam