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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View of the City of Luzern, taken on the Lake, near the Tuilerie Alexis Nicolas Perignon, I

  • Ruskin text

    66 The Baron’s House at Zug . Old print. E
  • Details

    Alexis Nicolas Perignon, I (1726 - 1782) (designer)
    François Denis Née (1732 - 1817) (engraver)
    Object type
    Material and technique
    engraving on paper
    243 x 364 mm (plate); 259 x 410 mm (sheet)
    Associated place
    Recto, all engraved, below the image:
    left: Dessiné par Perignon Ptre du Roi
    right: Gravé par Née
    centre: VUE DE LA VILLE DE LUCERNE | Prise sur le Lac, près de la Tuilerie. | A.P.D.R.
    bottom right: No. 97.

    Verso, bottom right, the Ruskin School's stamp

    On a separate small paper label, in graphite, top left: 65

    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
    Accession no.
  • Subject terms allocated by curators:


  • References in which this object is cited include:


    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Smith, Elder, 1871), cat. Educational no. 65

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Spottiswoode, 1874), cat. Educational no. 115

    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. 115


    • Western Art Print Room

Position in Ruskin’s Collection

Ruskin's Catalogues

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