New book by Anuradha Chatterjee

John Ruskin and the Fabric of Architecture

A new volume analysing the impact Ruskin had on architecture throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Hardback  (9781472449436)  £105.00

Ebook (9781315611365)  £24.99


Published 5 October 2017

Posted in Books

‘On Home Ground’: Ruskin in England and Scotland

A new exhibition at the Ruskin Library

‘On Home Ground’: Ruskin in England and Scotland

18 September – 15 December 2017

The depictions of French cathedrals, Venetian palaces and the Swiss Alps by John Ruskin (1819-1900) are rightly admired, but he also produced drawings and watercolours on home ground in England and Scotland.  This display includes some of his very earliest drawings made in Kent when only twelve; examples from early tours to Scotland and the Lake District in 1837 and 1838; others from his student days at Oxford and later occasional travels; and those made in and around Brantwood, his house at Coniston, after he settled there in 1872.

Preferring the French, he did not make any sustained study of English Gothic architecture, but did visit many of the great churches and cathedrals, including Salisbury, Lincoln and Peterborough.  As a student he was involved with the Oxford Society for Promoting the Study of Gothic Architecture, giving rise to some of his finest early drawings.  Two of the largest, of Melrose Abbey and Rosslyn Chapel, derived from the second family tour to the North in 1838, otherwise largely the focus for landscapes, as in the Lake District in 1837.

Travel outside London (before 1872), and beyond his beloved Brantwood in later years, was usually occasioned by visits to friends, when there was little opportunity to draw.  Exceptions include quick sketches made in Abingdon, Matlock and on a visit to Walter Morrison in Yorkshire in 1875.  At home in Brantwood, Ruskin’s concentration was chiefly on writing, his drawings made there focusing more on botany and geology than on the surrounding landscape.  Two late sketches, of Sandgate (1888) and Seascale (1889), show that even in physical and mental decline the urge to draw never quite left him

View from Upper Walk, Brantwood 1881

Considering its significance to his later life, Ruskin made surprisingly few drawings of Brantwood and its surroundings in the nearly twenty active years after he bought it in 1871. This study depicts the Upper Walk above and to the south of the house, then newly laid out.

(c) Ruskin Library

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized

Heritage Open Day, 9 September 2017

The Ruskin Library will be open on Saturday 9th September as part of Heritage Open Days. Come and have a look at our building, an exhibition of Ruskin’s drawings and take part in a drawing workshop in the Gallery – no need to book, just walk in!

It will also be the last day of the ‘Coming of Age’ exhibition. It includes this beautiful drawing of Amalfi by John Ruskin he described it in his diary:

‘Saw no more of Amalfi than I sketched but that was glorious. Far above all I ever hoped, when I first leaped off the mule, in the burning sun of the afternoon, with the light behind the mountains, the evening mist doubling their height – I never saw anything, in its way, at all comparable. … In largeness of feature, and richness of foliage, it was far inferior to the Genoa coast; but as pieces of mere rock, as finished bits of cliff coast, unrivalled.’ (Diary, 11 March 1841; D 1.164)

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized

New Exhibition at the Ruskin Library

Coming of Age: Ruskin’s Drawings from the 1840-41 Tour
24 April-9 September 2017

A new exhibition which brings together a vivid visual account of the Ruskin family travels.

The first picture in the exhibition is Charles Vernet’s ‘Les Voyageurs Anglais’ c.1825 – kindly lent from a private collection – which gives a good idea of the Ruskin family’s mode of transport on their early tours abroad

As Ruskin recalled in his autobiography ‘Praeterita’:

‘For a family carriage of solid construction . . . four horses were of course necessary to get any sufficient way on it; and half-a-dozen such teams were kept at every post-house . . . As a rule there were four steady horses and a good driver, rarely drunk, often very young, the men of stronger build being more useful for other work, and any clever young rider able to manage the well-trained and merry-minded beasts, besides being lighter on their backs .. .’

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New exhibition at the Ruskin Library

Gilded Shadows: the stones of Ruskin’s Venice

14 October – 16 December 2016

Ruskin’s first visit to Venice was in 1835 at the age of 16. The city, which he visited 11 times, had a lifelong influence on him, both emotionally and intellectually. Initially seduced by its romantic beauty, he later chose to undertake a far deeper study of its history, art and architecture than anyone had previously attempted, in his three volume major work The Stones of Venice. This exhibition shows highlights of his work from different visits side by side with recent photographs by renowned photographer of Venice, Sarah Quill. Her 40 years recording the architecture and daily life of Venice in photographs rivals Ruskin’s own fascination with, and dedication to, this beautiful city.

Image (c) Ruskin Foundation (Ruskin Library, Lancaster University)


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Heritage Open Days 8-10 September 2016

The Ruskin Library will be open for Heritage Open Days on 8th-10th September (Thursday-Saturday). For Details see…/…/ruskin-library

Ruskin Library

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Ruskin Library and Google Cultural Institute

An exciting new development for the Ruskin Library!

The Ruskin Library is now a partner in the Google Cultural Institute – from today, high resolution images of a selection of our pictures can be found at the Google Cultural Institute,…/…/the-ruskin-library, along with a virtual tour of the Library in Street View.

1996P1100 - 100dp small sizei

(image (c) Ruskin Foundation (Ruskin Library, Lancaster University)

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized