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 Amphora, showing Poseidon accompanied by Dolphins P. Bineteau

  • Ruskin text

    23 G Poseidon, as the foam of sea wave. ( Le Normand ). E
  • Curator’s description:

    Description

    The lithograph shows Poseidon, with a fish's tail. He is surrounded by dolphins, and a patch of very stylised seaweed. It reproduces the decoration of a black-figure amphora then in the Königlich Museum in Berlin. The print was plate XXXV 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 1871, when it appeared as no 23 G in the Educational Series, entitled "Poseidon, as the foam of the sea wave", and 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. 45, in the 1874 catalogue of the series, but does not appear in Ruskin's 1878 reorganisation of the series.

  • Details

    Artist/maker
    P. Bineteau (active c. 1857 - c. 1858) (printer)
    Object type
    print
    Material and technique
    watercolour and bodycolour over lithograph on wove paper
    Dimensions
    91 x 169 mm (stone); 220 x 348 mm (sheet)
    Inscription
    All printed, just outside the border of the image:
    top left: T. III
    top right: PL. XXXV.
    bottom left: Lith de P. Bineteau

    Recto, manuscript:
    bottom right, running down the sheet, in ink: 35
    bottom left, in graphite (recent): E45
    bottom, right of centre, graphite, beneath a sketch of the image's outline: Cut mount to take [?]

    Verso, top right, the Ruskin School's stamp

    On a separate small paper label, in ink: 23. G
    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.045
  • Subject terms allocated by curators:

    Subjects

  • References in which this object is cited include:

    References

    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. XXXV

    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. 45

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

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Spottiswoode, 1874), cat. Educational no. 45

Location

    • Western Art Print Room

Position in Ruskin’s Collection

Ruskin's Catalogues

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