Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Art collector Ashdown known for WAG contribution

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RUBY Ashdown, a longtime Winnipeg art collector and patron who made one of the biggest and most significant contributions to the Winnipeg Art Gallery's decorative arts collection, has died. She was 89.

Ashdown, who married into one of Winnipeg's wealthiest business families -- her late husband, James Ashdown, was the grandson of hardware magnate and Winnipeg mayor James Henry Ashdown -- donated her porcelain collection to the WAG in 2010.

The collection featured more than 200 pieces, including 18th- and 19th-century works from more than 30 British porcelain factories, some not previously represented at the WAG. The gallery's chief curator Helen Delacretaz, a specialist in decorative arts, called it a "curator's dream."

In 2010, 120 of Ashdown's ornate porcelain treasures, some she collected as a young married woman in the mid-1940s, were featured in an exhibition titled Delicate Beauty: The Ruby Ashdown Porcelain Collection.

The longtime River Heights resident is survived by her sons, James and William, and a daughter, Mary Grace.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 7, 2012 D2

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