This painted view of Magdalen College by John Mulcaster Carrick was formerly in the collection of novelist and playwright Charles Reade (1814-1884). Reade won a scholarship to Magdalen College in 1831 and went on to be elected a Fellow of Magdalen in 1836, gaining his MA two years later. He also served as bursar (1844) and vice-president at Magdalen (1851). Reade did much of his writing from his rooms at the college and achieved his first success at the age of 38 with the novel ‘It is Never too Late to Mend’ (1856; later a successful play). Reade’s other novels include ‘The Cloister and the Hearth’ (1861), ‘Griffith Gaunt’ (1866) and ‘Put Yourself in his Place’ (1870), and among his many plays are ‘The Courier of Lyons’ (1858), ‘Masks and Faces’ (1875) and ‘Drink’ (1879).
Reade owned a significant collection of art, including William Etty’s ‘The Graces’ and John Everett Millais’s ‘Sir Isumbras at the Ford’ (1857; now Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight). His collection also included ‘Rydal Water’ by Carrick. ‘Magdalen Bridge and College Oxford’ is Carrick’s only known Oxford view and was probably commissioned by Reade directly from the artist.
John Mulcaster Carrick was a painter of landscapes and figure subjects, based in London. He exhibited his work between 1854 and 1878, showing 18 works at the Royal Academy, one at the British Institution and two at the Royal Society for British Artists in Suffolk Street. He was also a member of the Hogarth Club - an exhibition society of artists, founded by former members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Carrick travelled in France, Switzerland and Spain. Two of his works were singled out for praise by the writer and art critic John Ruskin. His paintings are generally small and detailed. Towards the end of his career, his focus turned to coastal scenes.
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