Light and Shade with Refusal of Colour, Elementary Drawing, Plate XII
Date Made/Found: late 19th Century
, British, 1819 - 1900
, British, 1826 - 1907
Material and Medium: photogravure after engraving on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 382 x 306mm
Support: 300 x 220mm
Accession Number: CGSG00310
This is a plate from Ruskin’s book ‘The Laws of Fésole’ written in 1877 as a drawing guide for young people. He felt that most practical art education taught conventional rules of drawing without giving any rules in understanding art or beauty; consequently, the pupil has no real appreciation of beauty in the object or scene they are drawing. The book reads as a series of lessons, which Ruskin specially illustrated.
Ruskin produced this study as a guide to understanding gradation of tone. Ruskin suggests that even he as a teacher has problems in creating the right depth and subtlety of tone. He wrote: 'Theoretically, the outline, in such a study as this, should always be done first: but practically, I find it needful, with such imperfect skill as I have, to scrabble in the pencil shadows for some guide to the places of the lights; and then fasten everything down firmly with the pen outline. Then I complete the shadow as far as needful.'