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: 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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A Crab Giulio Romano (Pippi)

  • Ruskin text

    200. Crab. (Giulio Romano).
  • Details

    Giulio Romano (Pippi) (1499 - 1546)
    Object type
    Material and technique
    pen and ink and wash on laid paper
    87 x 181 mm (drawing); 209 x 303 mm (mount)
    bottom left, stamped in black ink: R.H. [for Richard Houlditch, Lugt 2214]
    just to the right, in ink: 8
    lower centre, stamped in black ink: R [for Jonathan Richardson, senior, Lugt 2184]
    bottom right, stamped within a box in black ink: SR | JR [ for Sir Joshua Reynolds, Lugt 2364]

    On the front of the mount:
    lower centre, in ink: Giulio Romano.
    bottom right, in graphite: E. 200

    On the back of the mount:
    just below top, centre, in ink: B 43 | I. [?] 42 | D.
    just below centre, in ink: 1746/7
    top right, in ink, written down the sheet: 2[...]30
    bottom left, in red ink, written down the sheet: Lot 1167
    bottom right, in ink: [...] June 1854 | from Woodburns Collectn | .600. £ - 2. -
    just to the left, in graphite: 10. 6
    just above in graphite (recent): M. App. 1, no.82
    below and left of centre, in graphite (recent): [...] R H. Richard Hudsons Collectn | S R | I R [in a square box] Sir Joshua Reynolds do | R Jonathan Richardson do
    towards bottom left, the Ruskin School's stamp

    Samuel Richardson, senior

    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: Spottiswoode, 1874), cat. Educational no. 200

    Macandrew, Hugh, Ashmolean Museum Oxford: Catalogue of the Collection of Drawings, iii, Italian Schools: Supplement (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980), no. A82, p. 210

    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. 200


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Ruskin's Catalogues

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