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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Moths Edward Donovan

  • Curator’s description:


    One of a set of nine drawings clearly by the same hand as the drawings bound into four volumes in the collection of the Guild of Saint George, listed as "Water Colour Drawings from Nature of Invertebrate Animals. By Edward Donovan" in "A Descriptive Catalogue of the Library and Print Room of the Ruskin Museum, Sheffield. With notes and extracts from the works of Professor Ruskin", Orpington and London (George Allen): 1890, p. 17. Like the Guild's drawings, the arrangement of the animals on the page, and the presence of graphite captions for many of the animals and sheets, indicate that these drawings were intended as originals for printed illustrations, and Donovan provided drawings for many works. However, the book for which these drawings were created currently remains unidentified.

    As the unframed examples had not been given an order by Ruskin, they have been given arbitrary accession numbers based upon their position in Cook and Wedderburn's list of the unframed objects (XXI.308) for the purposes of the current catalogue.

  • Details

    Edward Donovan (1768 - 1837)
    Object type
    Material and technique
    watercolour and bodycolour on wove paper
    287 x 228 mm
    Recto, all in graphite:
    top left: 87.
    top right: Pl. [...]
    top centre: ENTOMOLOGY | Transformations of Lepidoptera | Phalana, Linn. | Bombyx , Noctua , Geometra
    the individual animals are numbered '1' to '14'
    along the bottom, the first two words of the first two lines underlined: Family Bombyx . Fig. 1 eggs Fig 2,3 larva. Fig 4 . Cocoon containing the Pupa. Fig 5 Pupa . Fig 6 Perfect or winged state | Family Noctua . Fig 7 . eggs. Fig 8 larva . Fig 9 Pupa . Fig 10 winged State | Family Geometra . Fig 11 eggs . Fig 12, 12, [sic] larva. Fig 13 Pupa . Fig 14 . winged state

    Presumably presented by John Ruskin to the Ruskin Drawing School (University of Oxford); first recorded in the Ruskin Drawing School in 1906; transferred from the Ruskin Drawing School to the Ashmolean Museum c.1949

    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: 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. Unframed


    • Western Art Print Room

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