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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Little Devil's Bridge (from the Liber Studiorum) Turner

  • Ruskin text

    70 The Devil’s Bridge, St. Gothard. ( Turner, Liber Studiorum). E
  • Curator’s description:

    Description

    According to Cook and Wedderburn (XXI.305), the Supplementary Cabinet was 'a cabinet which Ruskin placed in the School but did not fill'; the examples which they listed were placed there shortly before their catalogue was published in 1906.

  • Details

    Artist/maker
    Turner (Joseph Mallord William Turner) (1775 - 1851) (designer, etcher)
    Charles Turner (1773 - 1857) (engraver)
    Object type
    print
    Material and technique
    etching and mezzotint on paper
    Dimensions
    208 x 288 mm (plate); 251 x 340 mm (sheet)
    Associated people
    Charles Turner (1773 - 1857) (publisher)
    Associated place
    Inscription
    Recto:
    all within the plate mark, etched:
    bottom left: Drawn & Etched by J.M.W. Turner Esqr. R.A. P.P.
    bottom right: Engraved by Chas. Turner
    bottom centre: LITTLE DEVILS BRIDGE over the RUSS above ALLDORFT SWISSD. | London Published March 29. 1809. by C. Turner, No. 50, Warren Street Fitzroy Square.

    bottom, towards right, in graphite (recent): F19I
    just to the right, in graphite (recent): F19f?
    bottom right, in ink: 106

    Verso, bottom right, the Ruskin School's stamp
    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.SUP.165
  • Subject terms allocated by curators:

    Subjects

  • References in which this object is cited include:

    References

    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. Supplementary no. 165

    Finberg, Alexander J., The History of Turner's Liber Studiorum: With a New Catalogue Raisonné (London: Ernest Benn, 1924), no. 19.I?

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Smith, Elder, 1871), cat. Educational no. 70

Location

    • Western Art Print Room

Position in Ruskin’s Collection

Ruskin's Catalogues

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