Sign on

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
'Apostle and Bay of Lower Arcade', Façade, Notre Dame-la-Grande, Poitiers, FranceCGSG01148 Ruskin Collection 188311994
'Arch from the Facade of San Michele, Lucca': Plate from 'The Seven Lamps of Architecture'CGSG00071 Ruskin Collection 1848-184922331
'Arch Masonry', Study towards 'The Stones of Venice', Volume ICGSG00011 Ruskin Collection about 185129345
'Arch Masonry', Study towards 'The Stones of Venice', Volume ICGSG00505 Ruskin Collection about 185113741
'Arundel Castle on the River Arun, Sussex' after TurnerCGSG00535 Ruskin Collection 18919399
'Aspen, Unidealized': Plate from 'Modern Painters', Volume IVCGSG00303 Ruskin Collection late 19th Century19523
'Aysgarth Force, Richmondshire', after TurnerCGSG00537 Ruskin Collection about 18808744
'Balcony in the Campo San Benedetto, Venice': Plate from 'The Seven Lamps of Architecture'CGSG00625 Ruskin Collection 184913372
'Ben Arthur, Scotland', from 'Liber Studiorum'CGSG01005 Ruskin Collection 18198600
'Bonneville, Savoy', from 'Liber Studiorum'CGSG01133 Ruskin Collection 18168561
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