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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Photograph of Verrocchio's Equestrian Monument to Bartolomeo Colleoni Anonymous Italian

  • Ruskin text

    45 Statue of Colleone. (Andrea Verrocchio.) Venice. P
  • Details

    Artist/maker
    Anonymous Italian (Anonymous, Italian) (photographer)
    after Andrea Verrocchio (1435 - 1488) (sculptor)
    Object type
    photograph
    Material and technique
    albumen print
    Dimensions
    251 x 344 mm (print); 281 x 368 mm (mount)
    Inscription
    Within the photograph, bottom left, blind-stamped, a monogram, possibly: SS

    On the back of the mount:
    Centre, an extensive text in letterpress, in Italin and English, giving the statue's history, and headed: Statua equestre di Bartolomeo Colleoni Generale della Republica Veneta
    above, centre, in ink, crossed out in ink: 31

    On a separate, rectangular, small paper label, in ink: 45
    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.095
  • Subject terms allocated by curators:

    Subjects

  • References in which this object is cited include:

    References

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Smith, Elder, 1871), cat. Educational no. 45

    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. 95

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Spottiswoode, 1874), cat. Educational no. 95

Location

    • Western Art Print Room

Position in Ruskin’s Collection

Ruskin's Catalogues

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