The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin’s teaching collection at Oxford

The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin’s teaching collection at Oxford

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Drawing of a Dog and Hare from the Ormesby Psalter John Ruskin

  • Curator’s description:


    The drawing seems to have showed a dog disguised in human clothes approaching a hare. It was taken from the Ormesby Psalter, which has a complex history, having been written in the late thirteenth century in East Anglia, and illuminated at intervals, most notably c.1310, and again c.1320 and over the next decade. It was eventually acquired, still unfinished, by one Robert of Ormesby, by whom it was presented to the Benedictine Cathedral Priory of Norwich. This drawing seems to have been taken from a detail of the upper border of folio 89 recto, containing the beginning of Psalm 68, 'Salvum me fac, Deus'; it was probably executed c.1310.

    Two separate sheets, one showing the hare and the other the dog, are now no. 41 in the Rudimentary Series; it is unclear whether these are identical with the drawing described here, although Cook and Wedderburn (XXI.178 n. 2) certainly thought that they were. Ruskin's copy of a falcon from another folio in the manuscript is now no. 167 in the Educational Series. Hewison, in his catalogue of the Rudimentary Series, notes that Ruskin's draft list of the series listed only 'Hastings' - presumably the arms of Harold and William the Conqueror - in this frame. In any case, the entry for this drawing under frame 39 appeared in all the printed catalogues of the Rudimentary Series - although not in Ruskin's 1878 reorganisation of the series.

  • Details

    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
    Object type

    Presented by John Ruskin to the Ruskin Drawing School (University of Oxford), 1875; listed as missing in 1891.

    No. of items
    Accession no.
  • Subject terms allocated by curators:


  • References in which this object is cited include:


    Ruskin, John, The Ruskin Art Collection at Oxford: Catalogue of the Rudimentary Series, in the Arrangement of 1873, ed. Robert Hewison (London: Lion and Unicorn Press, 1984), cat. Rudimentary no. 39

    Ruskin, John, Instructions in Practice of Elementary Drawing, Arranged with Reference to the First Series of Examples in the Drawings Schools of the University of Oxford (n.p., [1872]), cat. Rudimentary no. 39

    Ruskin, John, Instructions in the Preliminary Exercises Arranged for the Lower Drawing-School (London: Smith, Elder, 1872), cat. Rudimentary no. 39

    Ruskin, John, Instructions in the Preliminary Exercise Arranged For the Lower Drawing-School (London: Spottiswoode, 1873), cat. Rudimentary no. 39

    Ruskin, John, ‘The Ruskin Art Collection at Oxford: Catalogues, Notes and Instructions’, Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin: Library Edition, 39 (London: George Allen, 1903-1912), 21, cat. Rudimentary no. 39.b


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