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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Print of the Decoration on a Greek Amphora, showing Triptolemus and Hermes Fourquemin

  • Curator’s description:


    The lithograph shows Triptolemus in his chariot, clutching stalks of wheat; Hermes stands before him, holding his caduceus. It reproduces the decoration of a black-figure amphora then in the Museum at Compiègne. The print was plate XLVIII in the third volume of Lenormant and de Witte's "Elite des monuments céramographiques", published in 1858. It was presumably taken from Ruskin's copy of the work now preserved in the Ruskin Library (inventory no. 1996B2621), which is missing many of its plates.

    The print was first catalogued by Ruskin in 1870, when it appeared as no 23 I in the Educational Series in the "Catalogue of Examples", entitled "Triptolemus of the early time" and accompanying plates from Lenormant and de Witte representing Selene and Triptolemus. In 1871, it had moved slightly to no. 23 H, placed in Case II, "Elementary Illustrations of Greek Design". It remained in the same position, although renumbered as no. 46, in the 1874 catalogue of the series, but does not appear in Ruskin's 1878 reorganisation of the series.

    In the "Catalogue of Examples", Ruskin noted how Hermes was included in place of wings on the chariot, to symbolise clouds; and he instructed his students to draw the outlines in pen.

  • Details

    Fourquemin (active c. 1835 - c. 1861) (printer)
    L. Petit (active c. 1858) (lithographer)
    Object type
    Material and technique
    watercolour and bodycolour over lithograph on wove paper
    204 x 270 mm (stone); 252 x 349 mm (sheet)
    All printed, just outside the border of the image:
    top left: T. III
    top right: PL. XLVIII.
    bottom left: Lith. de Fourquemin
    bottom right: L. Petit, sc.

    Recto, manuscript:
    top centre, in ink: 23. K
    bottom right, in graphite: 4

    towards top left, in graphite, struck through in graphite: Edu - 23 - R - Trip & Hermes
    just below: a/B [?]
    just below: E.46
    right, just above centre, the Ruskin School's stamp

    Presented by John Ruskin to the Ruskin Drawing School (University of Oxford), 1875; 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, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Smith, Elder, 1871), cat. Educational no. 23.H

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Spottiswoode, 1874), cat. Educational no. 46

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of Examples Arranged for Elementary Study in the University Galleries (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1870), cat. Educational no. 23.I

    Lenormant, Charles, and Jean de Witte, Elite des monuments céramographiques: Matériaux pour l'histoire des religions et des moeurs de l'antiquité, 4 vols in 8 (Paris: Leleux, 1844-1861), vol. III, pl. XLVIII

    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. 46


    • Western Art Print Room

Position in Ruskin’s Collection

Ruskin's Catalogues

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