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

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

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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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Drawing of a Lizard and Cartellino from Carpaccio's "Funeral of Saint Jerome" 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 Vittore Carpaccio (1460/06 - 1525/06)
    Object type
    drawing
    Material and technique
    watercolour and bodycolour over graphite on blue wove paper
    Dimensions
    178 x 232 mm
    Inscription
    Recto:
    within the image, in watercolour: VIC TOR CARPATHIVS | FINGEBAT | MDII
    below the image, in ink: Carpaccio's signature; exactly under elbow of body of | St Jerome, in burial of St Jerome; two inches beneath it | This real size - but impossible to draw it delicately enough. | JR. Venice. 1870
    bottom, from left of centre to right corner, in graphite: Exactly under elbow of body of St Jerome, but [...] it | J.R. 12th May 1870

    Verso:
    along the left edge, running up the sheet, in graphite: that the hair is [?] meaningless - & | finished much too highly & too ornamental in | latest [...] style | even the eyebrow made art [?] - uselessly. | one can look at nothing but the hair ['much' inserted below the line with a carat]
    just right and just left of centre, two impressions of the Ruskin School's stamp
    below the right-hand stamp, in ink: M. 42
    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.a
  • 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

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

    Taylor, Gerald, ‘John Ruskin: A Catalogue of Drawings by John Ruskin in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford’, 7 fascicles, 1998, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, no. 150

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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