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Runciman and his brother John were among the most original of the artists who gathered in Rome in the 1770s, and Alexander's output of etchings marks an important departure in the history of the medium. His wild, strongly lit subjects from Scottish or Greek myth share something of Fuseli's urgent drama, and are executed with a spontaneous energy of their own. Like Ryley's small oil painting in this room, this etching takes its subject from Ossian, who was the son of Fingal.

August 2004