John Ruskin (Biographical details)

John Ruskin (printmaker; painter/draughtsman; academic/intellectual; collector; journalist/critic; British; Male; 1819 - 1900)

Also known as

Ruskin, John


Collector, art and social critic and watercolourist. For some years Slade Professor of Art at Oxford University.

Gere 1994
Ruskin's role in the Pre-Raphaelite Movement was as champion and defender in its early stages, and as practical supporter and patron especially of Rossetti and Millais. His father collected landscape watercolours of the contemporary English school, and John Ruskin's first attempts at drawing are in the 'picturesque' style of David Roberts, Prout, Copley Fielding and Turner. His later drawings, from about 1845, are of architectural details, clouds, landscapes, flowers, trees, shells, rocks (a passionate geologist, he collected minerals with the same enthusiasm as he did mediaeval manuscripts or watercolours by Turner), in short, of almost every natural phenomenon except the human figure. He made no attempt at composition or selection. As he once wrote, "I have no power of design, I can only paint what I see". Given this limitation, his drawings are unsurpassed for delicacy of touch and an exquisite precision and sensitiveness of eye and hand.


P Walton, The Drawings of John Ruskin, 1972
N Penny, Ruskin's Drawings, 1989
Gere 1994