Sir Harry Baldwin was Queen Victoria's dentist on the Isle of Wight who lived at Castle House, St Helen's. Of this watercolour he notes 'Inside is a description of this watercolour of John Ruskin's. The description was written by Mrs Severn for me when I bought the picture from her collection sold at the Fine Art Society. The other watercolour of San Miniato I bought at the same time. It is also John Ruskin's work.' The watercolour of San Miniato was sold Christie's, London, 11 July 1989, lot 167, £46,200.
In the third edition of the Fine Art Society's 1907 catalogue it is listed as 'Rock Study in colour 1868, 7 x 10½ "'. This date was probably provided by Joan Severn and is almost certainly a mistake as Ruskin didn't buy Brantwood until 1871, this erroneous date was followed by Cook and Wedderburn, loc.cit.. The present watercolour is similiar in style and execution to Woodsorrel, Moss and Fern, upon a rocky river-bank, which is also described in Cook and Wedderburn op.cit. vol. XXXVIII p. LI, pl. II as 'made at Brantwood by Ruskin' and dateable to 1875-79, it is in the collection of the Ruskin Gallery, Sheffield.
We are grateful to Dr James S Dearden and Stephen Wildman for their help in preparing this catalogue entry.