The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin’s teaching collection at Oxford

The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin’s teaching collection at Oxford

Ruskin's Educational series, 1st ed. (1871)

Ruskin's first catalogue of 300 works for the instruction of undergraduates and his notes on the use of particular examples.

Educational 1 cover

Ruskin's Catalogues: 1 object

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Ruskin assembled a diverse collection of artworks for his drawing school in Oxford, including watercolours by J.M.W. Turner and drawings by Ruskin himself.  He taught students to draw as a way of educating them in how to look at art and the world around them.  

Ruskin divided his Teaching Collection into four main series: Standard, Reference, Educational and Rudimentary. Each item was placed in a numbered frame, arranged in a set of cabinets, so that they all had a specific position in the Collection (although Ruskin often moved items about as his ideas changed). 

When incorporated into the Ashmolean’s collection in the last century, the works were removed from the frames and the sequence was lost.  Here, Ruskin's original catalogues, notes and instructions - in his chosen order and in his own words - are united with images of the works and links to modern curatorial descriptions.

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Print of the Decoration on a Greek Hydria, showing Dionysus, Hermes, Hera, Zeus, Hestia and Ariadne Kaeppelin et Compagnie

  • Ruskin text

    23 F Zeus and Hera with Dionysus and Hermes. ( Le Normand ). E
  • Curator’s description:

    Description

    The lithograph shows a series of Greek deities. From left to right, they are: Dionysus wearing a vine-wreath, Hermes with his caduceus, Hera clutching a spear, Zeus holding his thunderbolt, and, according to Lenormant and de Witte, Hestia and Ariadne. It reproduces the decoration of a black-figure hydria then in the collection of the Prince of Canino. The print was plate XXII in the first volume of Lenormant and de Witte's "Elite des monuments céramographiques", published in 1844. 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 1871, when it appeared as no 23 F in the Educational Series, accompanying a series of plates from Lenormant and de Witte in Case II, "Elementary Illustrations of Greek Design". It remained in the same position, although renumbered as no. 44, in the 1874 catalogue of the series, but does not appear in Ruskin's 1878 reorganisation of the series.

  • Details

    Artist/maker
    Kaeppelin et Compagnie (active c. 1839 - c. 1860) (printer)
    A. Rey (active c. 1844 - c. 1858) (lithographer)
    Object type
    print
    Material and technique
    watercolour and bodycolour over lithograph on wove paper
    Dimensions
    163 x 238 mm (stone); 241 x 350 mm (sheet)
    Inscription
    All printed, just outside the border of the image:
    top right: PL.XXII.
    bottom left: Lith. de Kaeppelin et C,,ie.
    bottom right: A. Rey, sc

    Recto, top left, in ink: Juno. A 1

    Verso:
    towards top left, in graphite: Juno A.Z
    top right, the Ruskin School's stamp

    On a separate small paper label, in ink: 23. F
    Provenance

    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
    1
    Accession no.
    WA.RS.ED.044
  • Subject terms allocated by curators:

    Subjects

  • References in which this object is cited include:

    References

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Spottiswoode, 1874), cat. Educational no. 44

    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. 44

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Smith, Elder, 1871), cat. Educational no. 23.F

    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. I, pl. XXII

Location

    • Western Art Print Room

Position in Ruskin’s Collection

Ruskin's Catalogues

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