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 Turner's "Glacier and Source of the Arveron, going up to the Mer de Glace" L. Caldesi & Co

  • Ruskin text

    7 I Source of the Arveron. Study of rolled granite. (Turner) at Farnley. P
  • Details

    Artist/maker
    L. Caldesi & Co (photographer)
    after Turner (Joseph Mallord William Turner) (1775 - 1851)
    Object type
    photograph
    Material and technique
    albumen print mounted on engraved wove paper
    Dimensions
    182 x 266 mm (print); 321 x 362 mm (mount)
    Associated people
    Associated place
    Inscription
    Recto, all on the mount below the photograph:
    centre: PHOTOGRAPHED BY L. CALDESI & CO. 13. PALL MALL EAST. | THE FARNLEY HALL COLLECTION OF TURNER DRAWINGS. | In the possession of F.H. Fawkes, Esqr.e. | PUBLISHED BY P. & D. COLNAGHI, SCOTT & CO. 13, PALL MALL EAST
    bottom left: No. 17 [the 'No.' engraved, '17' in graphite]
    bottom right: Entered at Stationers Hall.

    On the back of the mount:
    top centre, in graphite: E285
    top centre, the Ruskin School's stamp

    On a separate rectangular paper label, in ink: Photh. from TURNER'S 'source of the Arveiron'. | Drawing of 1803, now at Farnley. The ice fractures, drawn in clear blue, are too pale in photh.
    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.285
  • 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. 285

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Smith, Elder, 1871), cat. Educational no. XII.7.I

    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. 285

Location

    • Western Art Print Room

Position in Ruskin’s Collection

Ruskin's Catalogues

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