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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The Jungfrau, Wengern Alp and Lauterbrunnen John Ruskin

  • Curator’s description:


    A chalet stands in the right foreground, with a view up the Luetschine Valley to the Jungfrau in left distance. The view is towards the south-east, with the Silberhorn above the trees.

    This drawing was made during a six-month tour by Ruskin and his family through France to Chamonix in 1835, when Ruskin was 16. His diary entry for 31 August 1835, written in Interlaken, noted that they had wanted to cross the Wengern Alp, but had been forced to go by the valley. The inscription suggests that John James Ruskin had a hand in the drawing. Dearden suggested that it was entirely by Ruskin's father, but Taylor maintains that John James's inscription indicates only that he had participated in the area of the drawing immediately above it, down the valley on the left, as the handling there is less sharply defined, differing from the rest of the drawing. Taylor also suggests that the Ruskin's father may have drawn the two seated figures, representing his wife and his adolescent son.

    The drawing does not appear in any of Ruskin's catalogues of the collection, all there is a blank space opposite no. 119 in the 1874 edition of the Educational Series catalogue. It would certainly fit in the group of works assembled in that part of the series, which were intended to illustrate 'what German and Swiss life were in their happiest associations with landscape about the beginning of this Century' (Educational Series manuscript catalogue, fol. LXXV). It was first catalogued in the Oxford collections by Cook and Wedderburn in 1906.

    Ruskin was much impressed by the Jungfrau, calling it 'the most beautiful mountain in the world' (Praeterita, vol. III, § 34 = XXXV.509).

  • Details

    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
    John James Ruskin (1785 - 1864)
    Object type
    Material and technique
    pen and ink on paper
    192 x 267 mm
    Associated place
    Recto, in ink:
    bottom left corner, overwritten, John James Ruskin: Lauterbruunn
    bottom, towards left: J.J R. [i.e. John James Ruskin]
    lower right, John Ruskin: Jungfrao [sic], & Wengern Alp, Lauterbrounn, &c.

    Verso, in graphite:
    top left: 15
    bottom left (recent): E 119

    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:


    Taylor, Gerald, ‘John Ruskin: A Catalogue of Drawings by John Ruskin in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford’, 7 fascicles, 1998, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, no. 003

    Dearden, James S., ‘John James Ruskin: Artist and Patron’, Journal of Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic Studies, 2, (Fall 1987)

    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. Educational no. 119


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