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, 2nd ed. (1874)

Ruskin's revised catalogue of 300 works for the instruction of undergraduates and his notes on the use of particular examples.

Educational 2 cover

Ruskin's Catalogues: 32 objects

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Perspective Study of two shallow Dishes John Ruskin

  • Ruskin text

    2 Perspective Studies.M
  • Curator’s description:


    Two broad, shallow dishes are shown one above the other, seen from above. The upper, seen more from the side, is yellow inside and orange outside. The lower, seen more from above, is coloured yellow and decorated with thin radiating stripes of red and blue combined. Beneath the watercolour and bodycolour can be seen two networks of ruled graphite lines, each organised aound two horizontals and two sets of orthogonals receding to points beyond the upper left and right corners respectively, which define the perspective construction of the each dish. A crudely-drawn rectangle is indicated in graphite, defining the area to be made visible through the mount, approximately 16 x 20 cm.

    According to Taylor, this perspective drawing, its companion in the frame, and those in frame 215 of the Educational Series, were made by Ruskin during a period of intense work on the Teaching Collection in the spring of 1871. They do not appear in the "Catalogue of Examples" (1870), but are listed in the first catalogue of the Educational Series (1871) in Case IX, 'Illustrations of the Connection between Decorative and Realistic Design', as nos 2 and 2 A. They remained in the same positions in the 1874, although renumbered 214 and 215 respectively, but are not mentioned in the 1878 reorganisation of the series.

    Taylor relates the drawings in frame 214 to problem XIV, 'To draw a Truncated Circular Cone', in Ruskin's "Elements of Perspective" (XV.287-289), although they do not seem to have been intended as direct illustrations of that particular text.

  • Details

    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
    Object type
    Material and technique
    watercolour and bodycolour over graphite on pale brown paper
    251 x 285 mm
    Recto, all in graphite, labelling the perspective construction:
    on the top horizontal line, left: D2
    on the top horizontal line, right: D2 [the '2' written over a '1']
    on a line just below and to the right of the upper dish: 1/7
    on the same line, to the right: 1/7
    on the horizontal line running through the centre of the sheet, left: 1/2
    on the same line, just to the right of the lower bowl: 1/2
    on the same line, on the right edge: 9/1 [?]
    on the free-hand horizontal line below the lower bowl, towards the left of the bowl: 1/4
    on the same line, towards the right of the bowl: 1/4
    on the same line, to the right: 1/2
    on the bottom horizontal line, bottom left: 1/2
    on the same line, to the right: 1/4
    on the same line, to the right: 1/4
    on the same line, bottom right: 1/2

    Verso, all in graphite:
    top right: E214 UPPER 18 - 5 - 70
    right, above centre, tilted on its left side, the Ruskin School's stamp

    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:


    Taylor, Gerald, ‘John Ruskin: A Catalogue of Drawings by John Ruskin in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford’, 7 fascicles, 1998, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, no. 206.i

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Smith, Elder, 1871), cat. Educational no. IX.2

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Spottiswoode, 1874), cat. Educational no. 214

    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. 214


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