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Drawing cabinet: M.2-1861

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Object information

Awaiting location update


Makers: Snell, William and Edward (Probable)




Mahogany cabinet with brass mounts and ivory plaques, with five removable vertical cases, each case containing five removable glazed oak frames for drawings. The top has a flange at the front inscribed in gold lettering 'WATER-COLOURS by J.M.W.TURNER, R.A./Given by JOHN RUSKIN, 1861.'

Mahogany with brass mounts, and ivory inlaid or applied plaques. Rectangular, standing on a low plinth. The top is hinged 22 cm from the back edge, and has a flange at the front which is inscribed in gold lettering: 'WATER-COLOURS by J.M.W. TURNER, R.A./Given by JOHN RUSKIN, 1861', below which is a key hole. When pushed up, the top is supported by a hinged brass prop and ratchet in the top of the right side of the carcase. The carcase contains five removable vertical cases with handles of leather-covered metal on the top. These are numbered on the front with inlaid circular ivory disks, numbered respectively 1 to 5 in black. Each has a metal alloy latch-type fastening lower down on the front. Each case contains five removable glazed oak frames for drawings, grooved at the top and bottom to fit into runners in the boxes. Some retain a leather tab by which they were drawn out of the box. They are numbered above the frames on the inside of the top of the case, on applied rectangular ivory plaques, originally numbered 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, and 21-25. The first case has the number '1' on an rectangular ivory label at bottom right.

The gilding on the brass hinges is worn. The top of the cabinet is very badly scratched, particularly on the area behind the hinge. The following numbers are missing from above the frames: 1, 2, 10, 14, 15, 17-19, 21-25. Frame 25 is missing


History note: Commissioned by the donor.

Legal notes

Given by John Ruskin, RA.

Measurements and weight

Depth: 52.7 cm
Height: 76.5 cm
Width: 78.2 cm

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1861) by Ruskin, John


19th Century
Production date: AD 1861

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Hinges composed of gilt
Case Handles composed of metal leather
Case Frames composed of glaze oak
Carcase composed of mahogany
Disks, Plaques composed of ivory
Mounts, Hinges composed of brass (alloy)
Plinth Height 10 cm
Frames Height 51.2 cm Width 43 cm

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: 'WATER COLOURS by J.M.W.TURNER, R.A./Given by JOHN RUSKIN, 1861
  • Location: Center of front flange
  • Method of creation: Gold lettering
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.2-1861
Primary reference Number: 77246
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 14 May 2019 Last processed: Thursday 3 August 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Drawing cabinet" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-10-01 13:41:09

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