Ruskinland

Over the weekend, I have been reading Andrew Hill’s new book Ruskinland, which has been published by Pallas Athene to mark the bicentenary of Ruskin’s birth on 8 February 1819 and to make his ideas and writings more relevant and readable to the twenty first century than the 39 volumes of Cook and Wedderburn’s commemorative volumes, which effectively embalmed him.

Hill does a good job of resurrecting him: as a critic, for championing Turner in the five volumes of Modern Painters; as a teacher of drawing for his teaching of close observation in The Elements of Drawing and foundation of the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art (now abbreviated to the Ruskin School of Art); and for his deep and passionate love of nature. In a lecture in Oxford in 1872, he described how ‘The beginning of all my own right art work in life depended not on my love of art, but of mountains and the sea’.

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4 thoughts on “Ruskinland

  1. Oliver Domeisen says:

    Thanks for the great recommendation. Apologies if you have already covered this but I would also recommend the current exhibition “John Ruskin, The Power of Seeing” at Two Temple Place (W.W. Astor’s glorious old Astor Estate Office). When I went to see it I was struck by the quality and incredible intricacy of Ruskin’s watercolours and preparatory sketches (i.e. for the plates of The Seven Lamps of Architecture) when seen in the original. The exhibition is also full of interesting lesser-known morsels, from Ruskin’s collection of minerals to his early Daguerreotypes, on which he based many of the architectural drawings. Well worth a visit – inspiring and illuminating – and it’s free entry as well.

  2. Kate Woodhead says:

    There was an excellent article about this in the FT Weekend, earlier this month, and the exhibition is going to Sheffield in May – we will make the trip to my home city to see it.

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