Wax Medallion

Possibly from the Seals from the Sovereigns of England series

The original of this wax medallion is no longer in the collection.

There are several reasons why items may be missing from the collection. Ruskin was in the habit of moving works around a circuit of institutions, which included Whitelands College in London (now Roehampton University) and the Ruskin teaching collection at Oxford. The result is that works are not always lodged where the early catalogues, or in this case early photographs, would lead us to expect.

It is also possible that works were misplaced as a result of the collection being moved, first from Walkley to Meersbrook, then from Meersbrook to Reading, and finally from Reading back to Sheffield.

Whatever the cause, the unexpected presences in this photograph unsettle the assumption that a museum collection must be unchanging. The absence of objects occupying a central position in the old displays complicates the act of reconstruction, reminding us that the history of the museum is not always continuous or accessible.

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