Aosta (Upper Savoy, Switzerland)

William Ward, 1829 - 1908

Aosta (Upper Savoy, Switzerland)

William Ward 1829 - 1908


View across city. In foreground, a large stone cross, inscribed 1826, casts a shadow to right. On right a figure leads a donkey, loaded with goods, along a path towards the viewer. On left, there is an elaborate gateway through the city walls, the entrance surmounted with a crucifix. Faint outline of mountains in the distance. The art critic John Ruskin finished and approved this copy of JMW Turner's watercolour: look for the 'All right - JR' in the bottom right corner. The original image meant a lot to Ruskin. It was reproduced as an engraving in a book - Samuel Roger's 'Italy' - which Ruskin was given for his thirteenth birthday. He later remembered how this gift had changed his life; it introduced him to the work of JMW Turner, whom he grew to revere as the greatest living artist.

Display Label

Art for All: Thomas Horsfall’s Gift to Manchester Thomas Coglan Horsfall (1844-1932) was a pioneering philanthropist who established the Manchester Art Museum in 1884 in Harpurhey, moving it to larger premises at Ancoats Hall in 1886. The Museum was at the forefront of developments in art education, operating an innovative picture loan scheme for schools. In the 1880s, Harpurhey and Ancoats were crowded working class areas: the residents lived hard lives in impoverished surroundings. Horsfall wanted to make them aware of natural beauty by means of the Museum. He decided to locate the Museum close to their homes and to open it until 10 o’clock at night and on Sundays so that working people could visit. The Museum showed decorative and industrial art, original paintings and drawings, and copious reproductions. The works of art were arranged in themed rooms and everything had an explanatory label. Clubs for rambling, singing and woodcarving were formed and twice-weekly entertainments were held in the Museum’s concert hall. In 1918, the Museum and its contents were transferred to the management of Manchester City Council. The Museum finally closed in 1953. The majority of the items in this exhibition are from the original Museum. The exhibition has been co-curated by the Year 5 pupils at St Augustine’s CE Primary School in Harpurhey, Manchester.

Object Name

Aosta (Upper Savoy, Switzerland)

Creators Name

William Ward

Date Created

1850 (circa)


support: 25.9cm x 33.5cm

accession number


Place of creation







Transferred from the Horsfall Museum Collection, 1918


© Manchester Art Gallery

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