The home of the Whitehouse Collection of Ruskin materials, the Ruskin Library contains a Reading Room (for those using the Collection for research), and a Gallery (which shows a selection of works from the collection). The award-winning building, designed by Sir Richard MacCormac (of MJP Architects) and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, was designed to especially house the collection and was opened by HRH Princess Alexandra in 1998.
The collection is a fascinating mixture of pictures, books, manuscripts and photographs relating to the great Victorian writer and artist John Ruskin (1819-1900) who spent his later life at Brantwood, near Coniston in the Lake District. At least three themed displays are arranged each year: these are mainly of works from the collection, but many also include items lent by other institutions and occasional exhibitions of more modern works.
On 1 August 2008 the Ruskin Library and the Ruskin Centre were amalgamated, as the Ruskin Library and Research Centre, with Professor Stephen Wildman as the Director. The Ruskin Library continues to hold exhibitions and provide access to the collection housed here: the Research Centre organises courses, the Ruskin Seminars and produces the Ruskin Review and Bulletin.