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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Enlarged Drawing of the Wing of the Angel in Rembrandt's etching of "The Angel appearing to the Shepherds" Rembrandt van Rijn

  • Ruskin text

    with Wing of Rembrandt’s Angel , in No. 3 J, enlarged.
  • Curator’s description:


    The drawing shows, more-or-less stroke-for-stroke, the proper right wing of the angel hovering above the shepherds in Rembrandt's etching of "The Angel appearing to the Shepherds", made in 1643, which was in the preceding frame.

    This example was first catalogued in 1871, as no. 3 K in Case X of the Educational Series, devoted to "Illustrations of Etching, Engraving, and Outline Drawing". It shared a frame with a fragment cut from Dürer's Nemesis, of Nemesis' wing. The frame was renumbered 237 in the 1874 catalogue, and is not mentioned in the 1878 reorganisatoon of the series. The Dürer was intended as a comparison to the Rembrandt, which Ruskin described in the Educational catalogues as 'an example of every kind of badness'; he hoped that his students would 'have no difficulty, in this one instance at least, in knowing good work from bad'.

  • Details

    after Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 - 1669) (etcher)
    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
    Object type
    Material and technique
    black ink and brush, with scratching out, and mounting indications in graphite, on off-white wove paper
    225 x 283 mm
    Recto, bottom right, in graphite (recent): E 237 below

    Verso, bottom centre, 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. 226

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Smith, Elder, 1871), cat. Educational no. X.3.K

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Spottiswoode, 1874), cat. Educational no. 237

    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. 237


    • Western Art Print Room

Position in Ruskin’s Collection

Ruskin's Catalogues

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