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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/FoundSorted AscendingTimes Viewed
Guillemot vieillard, en étéCGSG06502 Ruskin Collection 1838304
Giornico, in the Ticino, SwitzerlandCGSGB424 Ruskin Collection 1859304
Two Arcades of San Marco, Venice, ItalyCGSG01544 Ruskin Collection late 19th Century305
Monument to Can Mastino II, Verona, ItalyCGSG01580 Ruskin Collection mid 19th-19th Century305
Sitta EuropeaCGSG06363 Ruskin Collection 1832-1837305
Spilornis rufipectusCGSG06534 Ruskin Collection 1850-1883305
Hardraw Fall, YorkshireCGSG01609 Ruskin Collection 1818306
Crook of Lune, looking towards Hornby Castle, YorkshireCGSG02468 Ruskin Collection 1821306
'Egyptian, No. 7', from 'The Grammar of Ornament', Plate XCGSG03046 Ruskin Collection 1856306
Flora Londinensis: Containing a History of the Plants indigenous to Great Britain, illustrated by Figures of the Natural Size. Volume VCGSG04066 Ruskin Collection 1828306
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