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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Finished Study of Agrimony Leaves John Ruskin

  • Ruskin text

    5 D Finished Study of Agrimony leaves.M
  • Details

    Artist/maker
    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
    Object type
    drawing
    Material and technique
    pen and ink, sepia, watercolour and bodycolour over graphite on wove paper
    Dimensions
    259 x 173 mm
    Inscription
    Recto:
    top left, in graphite (recent): Ed 255 ii
    just below the image, centre, in graphite: H 2 under H 1. gold.
    below: Paste this on back of | mount
    bottom, written across the sheet, the lines often running obliquely: 8. Agrimony. | part of 7. enlarged. | This is the back of leaf in both 7 & 8. | The leaves are quite clean stalked | at their roots - not webbed off. | but the radical wings | come from all round | stalk - not | joined on [the final 'not' apparently struck through]

    Verso:
    in black ink: PARTIAL LEAF STUDY (TCENTRAL) [?]
    below centre, 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.ED.255.b
  • 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. XI.5.D

    Taylor, Gerald, ‘John Ruskin: A Catalogue of Drawings by John Ruskin in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford’, 7 fascicles, 1998, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, no. 068.ii

    Cook, Edward T., Studies in Ruskin: Some Aspects of the Work and Teaching of John Ruskin (Orpington: George Allen, 1890), pl. XII, p. 322

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Spottiswoode, 1874), cat. Educational no. 255

    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. 255

Location

    • Western Art Print Room

Position in Ruskin’s Collection

Ruskin's Catalogues

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