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Ruskin Collection

The Ruskin Collection, known officially as the Collection of the Guild of St George was created by John Ruskin (1819-1900), an influential Victorian writer.

Throughout the mid 1800s, Ruskin gained fame by writing about art, architecture, geology and landscapes.By the 1870s Ruskin's interest had turned to social policy, and he founded the Guild of St George with the aim of making England a better place for the everyday worker. With the help of his Guild, Ruskin put together this collection to display in Sheffield as a creative and educational tool for Sheffield’s metalworkers.

The collection is an eclectic mix that reflects Ruskin’s many interests. Early renaissance art, gothic architecture, Albrecht Dürer and JMW Turner’s engravings, mosaic decoration, Japanese cloisonné enameling, illustrations of birds, flowers, insects and landscapes all have their place. In addition, Ruskin added collections of geology and coins, and a library of illustrated books and medieval manuscripts. The Guild of St George has since added to the collection with drawings and paintings, late Victorian photographs and pieces from the Ruskin Linen Industry.

Most of the drawings and watercolours in the collection were carried out by Ruskin’s assistants, who carefully copied paintings by Italian painters of the late 1400s and, made detailed records of gothic architecture and byzantine mosaic using pencil, watercolour and plaster cast. Other pieces come via Ruskin’s own collections of nature drawing, engraving and books. Few watercolours are by Ruskin himself, but everything he included was given with a set purpose to educate and inspire.

The Ruskin Collection is still owned by the Guild of St George, but is maintained and displayed by Museums Sheffield.

You can search the collection online here, find out more using the menu on the left of this page, or visit the permanent exhibition at the Millennium Gallery - click here for details. Please note that whilst the permanent exhibition frequently rotates items from the Ruskin Collection, it is not possible to display all of the collection at any one time.

Show Objects
Name of ObjectAccession NumberCollectionDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
"She Sprung Agin"CGSG00690 Ruskin Collection 184013702
"What I want to know is whether, so-social-socialism ca-an stand or no?"CGSG00692 Ruskin Collection 184012445
"Why, their heads ain't gone, your honour"CGSG00691 Ruskin Collection 18408704
'Abraham leaving Babylon with Sarah and Lot' after Benozzo GozzoliCGSG00709 Ruskin Collection 1876-18809268
'Adam and Eve and Surrounding Saints', detail from 'The Paradise' after Tintoretto'CGSG00198 Ruskin Collection 188310563
'Adam and Eve taking the Apple', from the Tomb of Can Mastino II, VeronaCGSG00331 Ruskin Collection 186811318
'Adam and Eve', Fresco in the Piazza Erbe, Verona, ItalyCGSG00776 Ruskin Collection 18847898
'Aesacus and Hesperie', from 'Liber Studiorum'CGSG01132 Ruskin Collection 18197814
'Angel Musicians', detail from 'The Presentation of Christ in the Temple', after CarpaccioCGSG00369 Ruskin Collection 18779265
'Angels in Adoration' from the Medici Riccardi Chapel, after Benozzo GozzoliCGSG01649 Ruskin Collection 1884-18859451
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