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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Coast of Yorkshire, near Whitby (from the Liber Studiorum) Turner

  • Ruskin text

    92 Coast of Yorkshire. The subject completed in the Liber. E
  • Details

    Artist/maker
    Turner (Joseph Mallord William Turner) (1775 - 1851) (designer, etcher)
    William Say (1768 - 1834) (engraver)
    Object type
    print
    Material and technique
    etching and mezzotint on paper
    Dimensions
    208 x 292 mm (plate); 244 x 333 mm (sheet)
    Associated people
    Turner Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 - 1851) (publisher)
    Associated place
    Inscription
    Recto:
    within the plate-mark, all etched:
    top centre: M
    bottom left: Drawn by & Etched by J.M.W.Turner.R.A.
    just below: H
    bottom right: Engraved by W Say Engraver to H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester.
    bottom centre: COAST OF YORKSHIRE, | near Whitby. | Published Jany. 1.1811. by Mr. Turner, Queen Ann Street West

    within the plate mark, top, towards left, in graphite: close up
    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.142
  • 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. Educational no. 142

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Spottiswoode, 1874), cat. Educational no. 142

    Finberg, Alexander J., The History of Turner's Liber Studiorum: With a New Catalogue Raisonné (London: Ernest Benn, 1924), no. 24.IV

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Smith, Elder, 1871), cat. Educational no. 92

Location

    • Western Art Print Room

Position in Ruskin’s Collection

Ruskin's Catalogues

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