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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Study of an Oak Twig John Ruskin

  • Details

    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
    Object type
    Material and technique
    watercolour and bodycolour over graphite on board
    209 x 40 mm
    Just below the image, scratched and crossed out, in ink: [...] | plate 5

    Presumably presented by John Ruskin to the Ruskin Drawing School (University of Oxford); first recorded in the Ruskin Drawing School in 1878; 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. 075.i

    Ruskin, John, ‘Rudimentary Series 1878’, 1878, Oxford, Oxford University Archives, cat. Rudimentary no. 280

    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. Working Series no. II.31


    • Western Art Print Room

Ruskin's Catalogues

  • Ruskin's revision to the Rudimentary series (1878)

    W.S.(2) 31 280.

    Such being the method of studying Trunks, we begin here, I was going to say, the anatomy of Branches; but I ought to say the Study from the Nude. It is no more desirable for Landscape-study to cut trees to pieces or to hack them than it is for Historical Study to cut men to pieces or to flay them: but it is necessary for the student at first to draw the muscular forms of Trees without their leaves as it is for the Historical Painter to draw the forms of Men without their clothes. And it is needful also to draw the extremities of branches with the utmost precision just as Holbein or Mantegna draw beard or eye lashes with the utmost precision. Both the drawings in the example are of the natural size and most carefully studied in the spiral action of the wood. That on the right, a spray of budding oak, was engraved in Modern Painters and should be copied by every student for crucial practice in the diminution of thickness between buds.

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