Sign on
Collection of the Guild of St George, Museums Sheffield
Study of a Peacock's Breast Feather
Date Made/Found: 1873
Artist: John Ruskin , British, 1819 - 1900
Material and Medium: watercolour on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 420 x 297mm Support: 289 x 198mm
Department: Ruskin
Accession Number: CGSG00046
'I have to draw a peacock's breast-feather, and paint as much of it I can, without having heaven to dip my brush in'. This study is typical of Ruskin’s interest in learning through carefully observed drawing. He noted that the colours in peacock feathers are so magnificent as each single filament of them contains 'glowing' tones and 'rainbow iridescence'. He was interested in how the attractive colour of a peacock’s breast feather was only towards its tip. Further down, feathers were less colourful and structured as when overlapped with the next feather, the attractive colour wouldn’t show, and the fluffy down was needed to keep the bird warm. Ruskin apparently used this particular study in a lecture about the red breast feathers of a robin. Seeing parallels between species is typical of Ruskin. Like a peacock’s, a robin’s breast feathers are attractively coloured above, with practical fluffiness below.
Display Location: In Store
gPowered byeMuseum

Museums Sheffield

Trying something new can be a little bit scary, but what a great feeling when you make the connection. We're trying new things all the time and we want you to try them too, so come with us and we'll help connect you with art, nature, history, ideas - and each other.

Jump in. Discover something new.

Explore our site