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The charcoal burners

oil on canvas
87.0 × 124.8 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Bequest of Alfred Felton, 1904
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

Exhibited Royal Academy, London, 1874, no. 574; purchased from the artist by Agnew’s (dealer), London, 1874; collection of Robert Millington Knowles Esq. (1843–1924), High Sherriff of Nottinghamshire, of Colston Bassett Hall, Colston Bassett, by 1878[1]; by whom loaned to the Midland Counties Art Museum, Nottingham, 1878[2]; exhibited Jubilee Exhibition, Manchester, 1887, no. 400, lent by R. M. Knowles; exhibited Summer Exhibition, New Gallery, London, May 1890, no. 171 as Charcoal-burning in Monmouthshire; collection of Martin Loughlin (1833–94), Ballarat, before 1894[3]; included in the James MacBain sale, Fraser & Co. Ltd, Melbourne, 7 February 1895[4]; from where purchased by Alfred Felton (1831–1904); his collection, Melbourne, until 1904; bequeathed to the NGV, 1904.

[1] Colston Bassett Hall was purchased by Knowles, originally from Lancashire, in 1877. Knowles immersed himself in the local community, funding the construction of a new parish church. See

[2] Official Catalogue of the Pictures and Objects in the Midland Counties Art Museum, The Castle, Nottingham, compiled and edited by J. P. Briscoe, F.R.H.S., Nottingham: T. Forman and Sons, 1878, p. 62, cat. 31 (North staircase).

[3] Loughlin was a mining magnate and owner of racehorses. He arrived in Victoria in 1855 and made his fortune mining alluvial gold. See Austin McCallum, 'Loughlin, Martin (1833–1894)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessible via link above or

[4] ‘The late Sir James MacBain’s Paintings’ in The Argus, Melbourne, Wednesday 6 February 1895, p. 6, and ‘Sale of Paintings’ in The Age, Melbourne, Saturday 9 February 1895, p. 8, Lot number unknown.


Upper right quadrant of reverse of canvas, also stamped at centre of stretcher cross braces ROBER.../...../99...ACRE
Ink stamps
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National Portrait Gallery