Ruskin’s Weather

“But, Ruskin, what is the use of painting such very bad weather?”  And I had no answer, except that, for Copley Fielding and for me, there was no such thing as bad weather, but only different kinds of pleasant weather – some indeed inferring the exercise of a little courage and patience … (The Works of John Ruskin [Library Edition], ed. E.T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, 39 vols, London 1903-12, vol. 33, p.380-381)

This is the basis of a favourite Ruskin misquote, which appears widely on the internet, concerning different kinds of weather – sunshine, snow, wind and rain are sometimes mentioned.  The original quote comes from Lecture VI, ‘The Hill-Side’, in the series The Art of England, delivered as Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford University in 1883 and published in 1884.  The lecture was on British watercolour painters, and in this passage on a work by A.V. Copley Fielding, Ruskin recalled a fellow student asking him (this would have been around 1840) this question.

Cloud effects over Coniston Old Man

Cloud effects over Coniston Old Man

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