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 South Porch of the Duomo, Verona John Wharlton Bunney

  • Curator’s description:


    The drawing shows the twelfth-century south porch of the Duomo in Verona, with the curved wall of the second aisle chapel (from the second half of the fifteenth century) projecting on the left. The remains of various frescoes (including a coat of arms, and two saints flanking a Man of Sorrows below it) can be seen above the door. The sculptures include a lion at the pinnacle; the Annunciation depicted on the two upper capitals (Gabriel on the left, the Virgin on the right); supporting the upper columns, Jonah having escaped from the whale (left) and a lion (right); and a woman holding two cups immediately below Jonah. The drawing was most probably done during Bunney's only recorded trip to Verona in 1869, where he was joined by Ruskin who was there at intervals from May to August that year.

    The drawing was first catalogued in 1872, in the Standard and Reference Series catalogue, as no. 77. Whilst Ruskin made much of the Duomo in Verona, he does not seem to have referred specifically to this porch. However, in his "Lectures on Architecure", he used the way in which only the porches and lower walls of the Duomo were decorated as an example of the simplicity and boldness of decoration which was characteristic of buildings of the the greatest times (§ 67 = XII.91-2). On the other hand, Ruskin did commission another drawing of the porch, but from slightly to the left, from Frank Randal; this was made in July 1884, and a tracing of it is in the collection of the Guild of Saint George (R.2139.b; Morley, Late Work, Appendix, p. 172), although Morley was unable to trace the original drawing.

  • Details

    John Wharlton Bunney (1828 - 1882)
    Object type
    Material and technique
    watercolour and bodycolour over graphite, with mounting indications in light scoring and black ink, on wove paper
    546 x 385 mm
    Associated place
    Verso, bottom 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 Reference Series Including Temporarily the First Section of the Standard Series (London: Smith, Elder, [1872]), cat. Reference no. 77

    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. Reference no. 77


    • Western Art Print Room

Position in Ruskin’s Collection

Ruskin's Catalogues

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