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Study of an Australian opal
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Study of an Australian opal


Alexander McDonald (Macdonald) (1839 - 1921)

Formerly attributed to John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

Height: 17.8 cm; Width: 17.7 cm;

Collector's mark
Inscription, i.e. Director of Ruskin School at Oxford
Inscription, Australian opal, given by J.R. [or T.R.] / to Mr Allen / by A. Macdonald / Frame No. 416 //

Acquisition (source, method, date)
Witt, Robert Clermont (Sir); bequest; 1952

About this work
In 1871 the influential critic John Ruskin appointed Alexander Macdonald as Master of his Drawing School at Oxford. In the spring of 1884 he employed the artist to make studies of some semi-precious stones from his collection of over 3,000 mineral specimens at his Lake District home, Brantwood.

This carefully observed drawing, previously attributed to Ruskin, is most probably one of this group. The opal itself was sold in 1924 to the British Museum by Ruskin’s cousin and closest relative, Joan Severn. (Permanent collection label)

Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

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