The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin’s teaching collection at Oxford

The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin’s teaching collection at Oxford

Ruskin's revision to the Rudimentary series (1878)

Unpublished manuscript catalogue for proposed re-organisation of the Rudimentary series.

Rudimentary manu Cover

Catalogue / 7th Cabinet / 1st Section

  • Turner, Joseph Mallord William - Liber studiorum - The Frontispiece 151.

    Frontispiece Etching Begins the series of xxv examples chosen from the Liber Studorium, with the etching from the Frontispiece entirely by his own hand and showing, more clearly than the finished plate, the materials of which he meant the work to be composed. An epitome of what the xixth.. century had to meditate on; viz. Classical Architecture, fallen, Norman Architecture, standing, with Gothic above it, confusion of Rustic or familiar objects surrounding these, and a Picture in the centre into which all these are supposed to be combined as the End of their existence - the whole signed and symbolised, as it were, by the Peacock in its character of Phoenix, or Resuscitation. In this accumulation of object it is interesting to trace what were the most important materials in Turner’s own mind; but it is not easy to understand the meaning of the caduceus of Hermes in the group of dock-leaves and thistles, nor why so great importance should be attached to Fish, while we have only one Bird and no Beasts. The etching is all by Turner’s own hand, and in his finest manner. The subject of the central Picture The rape of Europa, the mast and yard of the lateral sail antique .

  • R.
  • Turner, Joseph Mallord William - Liber studiorum - The Frontispiece 152. Frontispiece

    The same Plate, completed in light and shade, but with no very satisfactory result, the cornice of the frame coming out much better than that of the temple. The names of the engravers are given on the sail with Turner’s at the bottom not as a Painter but as an Engraver - the central picture in this piece being engraved by his own hand, as well as etched.

  • Turner, Joseph Mallord William - Liber studiorum - Ships in a Breeze 153.

    Another etching from the same Book; showing the extreme fineness of Turner’s hand. It is one of the least interesting of his Marine Pieces; yet, strange to say, he has taken more pains than usual in the etching of it.

  • Turner, Joseph Mallord William - Liber studiorum - Ships in a Breeze 154.

    Completion of the same Plate; given only as an example of the painstaking Marine Studies by which he learned to paint his Trafalgar.

  • Turner, Joseph Mallord William - Liber studiorum - Dunstanborough Castle 155. Dunstanborough Castle

    Another etching of standard quality, firm lines being opposed to faint ones according to their distance. This etching ought to be copied by all students; it will give them little trouble and much knowledge.

  • R.
  • Turner, Joseph Mallord William - Liber studiorum - Dunstanborough Castle 156. Dunstanborough ?

    Completion of the same subject; quite one of the most characteristic pieces of our wild and impressive Northern Landscape, seen under quiet evening-light. I often wonder that Turner did not take more pains with the near sea which is curiously hard at the edges of the waves; and yet, practically, I never tire of the picture.

  • Turner, Joseph Mallord William - Liber studiorum - Entrance of Calais Harbour 161. 157. Calais Harb.

    The best marine subject in the Liber; wonderfully beautiful in sense of motion and in the light, through rain, behind the brig coming out of Harbour. Engraved by Turner himself with extreme care.

  • Turner, Joseph Mallord William - Liber studiorum - Water Mill 152. 158. Water Mill

    It is pleasant to pass from the stormy sea to this piece of Rustic life in which the repose of its natural tenor is sinking into the natural repose of decay. The etching of it will be found in the Educational Series. It being one of the most splendid in the Book is given as a study for advanced students. By a reference to it we shall find the dog to be a subsequent idea: he is not in the etching and even now is much more of an idea than a dog. Most likely the R. engraver came to show the Proof when Turner was tired - the Painter felt something was wanting, put in a black pencil-scratch where he wanted it and told the Engraver to make the scratch into - a dog.

  • Turner, Joseph Mallord William - Liber studiorum - Pembury Mill, Kent 153 159. Pembury Mill Interior

    A study of Flour-mill life, as essential to all other life, given in the extreme of its simplicity from a Kentish Water-mill; the figures (for the second time, with the exception of the dog) being more satisfactory than in the artist’s usual work. I am so fond of the Plate that I have hitherto taken all the parts of it upon trust. I felt, on looking at it just now with a fresh eye, that I could easily spare d the dog out of it, but find on looking longer that I was wrong and that he was needed to prevent our being confined within the four lines of the door. (My friend secures me in embarrassment by asking whether “a decent dog would not have answered the same purpose, adding, most truly, that this is like one of Hogarth’s dogs .)

  • Turner, Joseph Mallord William - Liber studiorum - Crowhurst 154. (154) 160. Crowhurst

    This unpublished Plate, seen here in its finest state, is the most elaborate piece of work which Turner gave to wood scenery in the Liber. He seems R.Crowhurst to have meant to make it extremely beautiful and the record of a most solemn impression on his own mind from the Downs of Sussex, under light-falling snow with heavier storm coming on in twilight. The brown colour, however, of the engraving defeats his purpose: but the study is full of passages with which all students of English Landscape are so familiar that I take it for the most perfect introduction to all the following variety of English Scenes in the Book itself. It must represent all of them here, for we have only Fifteen more subjects to divide between Scotland and Switzerland, having already given ten to England.

  • Turner, Joseph Mallord William - Liber studiorum - Ben Arthur, Scotland 158 161. Ben Arthur

    The most notable of the Scottish subjects in the Liber, admirably engraved by Mr. Lupton over Turner’s yet more admirable etching.

  • Turner, Joseph Mallord William - Liber studiorum - Inverary Pier, Loch Fyne, Morning 157. 162. Inverary Pier

    If the last is the grandest, this is the brightest and happiest of the Scottish Scenes in the Book. It is both etched and engraved by Turner, and I have often heard Mr. Lupton express his astonishment at the transparency of aerial light obtained in the mountains and sky. I have always felt, myself, the two equal R. loops of Bay to be awkwardly one above the other; yet the calm of the composition would seem to be destroyed by any purposable modification.

  • Lupton, Thomas Goff - Mezzontint of Turner's "Peat Bog, Scotland" (from the Liber Studiorum) 163. Peat Bog ?

    Next to the brightest I give the darkest of Scottish heather and Scottish Land. Under the influence of such scenery Turner learned to despise the affectations of Italian landscape and the comforts of Dutch, and prepared himself for the higher grandeur and more threatening gloom of the Alps.

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