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

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

Learn to draw

Stephen Farthing R.A. presents eight practical drawing classes using John Ruskin’s teaching collections to explain the basic principles of drawing.

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A Dragon carved outside the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Venice John Ruskin

  • Ruskin text

    189.

    The student will be surprised at first by the placing of this Example in the group of domestic animals . If he will recollect Horace's measure of contented possession:- Unius sese dominum fecisse lacertæ , he may feel that the lizard is indeed the best of all introductions to the races of living creatures meant for our companions. It may farther interest him to hear that when I was an undergraduate I was formally invited by Dr. Buckland to his house in 'Tom Quadrangle', Ch.Ch. to breakfast with some polite little green lizards; I think from Carolina, where their duty is to keep the flies off the plates. The mystic meaning of Carpaccio in placing his own signature in the charge of animals is illustrated in my Lectures. What the creature which ought to be domestic may become, if we neglect it, is seen in the example below.

  • Details

    Artist/maker
    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
    after Anonymous, Venetian (sculptor)
    Object type
    drawing
    Material and technique
    graphite on grey wove paper
    Dimensions
    173 x 266 mm
    Associated place
    Inscription
    Recto:
    below the image, in ink: Form of Dragon which the present St George of England has | to conquer. Wings gone to nothing. Throat become everything. (He has | not even a respectable or decent Devil to fight.) Sketched from basrelief of St George | contemporary with Carpaccio, on outside of San Giorgio de' Schiavoni, Venice. JR (1872)
    top right, in graphite (recent): E 171 (below)

    Verso, centre, the Ruskin School's stamp
    Provenance

    Presumably presented by John Ruskin to the Ruskin Drawing School (University of Oxford); first recorded in the Ruskin Drawing School in 1878; transferred from the Ruskin Drawing School to the Ashmolean Museum c.1949

    No. of items
    1
    Accession no.
    WA.RS.ED.171bis.b
  • Subject terms allocated by curators:

    Subjects

  • References in which this object is cited include:

    References

    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. 171bis

    Taylor, Gerald, ‘John Ruskin: A Catalogue of Drawings by John Ruskin in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford’, 7 fascicles, 1998, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, no. 149

    Ruskin, John, ‘Educational Series 1878’, 1878, Oxford, Oxford University Archives, cat. Educational no. 189

Location

    • Western Art Print Room

Ruskin's Catalogues

  • Educational, manuscript (1878)

    189.

    The student will be surprised at first by the placing of this Example in the group of domestic animals . If he will recollect Horace's measure of contented possession:- Unius sese dominum fecisse lacertæ , he may feel that the lizard is indeed the best of all introductions to the races of living creatures meant for our companions. It may farther interest him to hear that when I was an undergraduate I was formally invited by Dr. Buckland to his house in 'Tom Quadrangle', Ch.Ch. to breakfast with some polite little green lizards; I think from Carolina, where their duty is to keep the flies off the plates. The mystic meaning of Carpaccio in placing his own signature in the charge of animals is illustrated in my Lectures. What the creature which ought to be domestic may become, if we neglect it, is seen in the example below.

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