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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
Still life with dead goldfinch, lizard and ivy leavesCGSGB323 Ruskin Collection around 1860-1880996
Central Tower at Sunset from Rue Sérurier, Laon Cathedral, FranceCGSG00730 Ruskin Collection 18861295
Sculptural Figure with a ScrollCGSG00474 Ruskin Collection late 19th Century1295
Study of a Capital, Choir, Cathedral of Notre Dame, Senlis, FranceCGSG00521 Ruskin Collection 18811295
Columns from the Church of Notre Dame d'Urcel, PicardieCGSG00631 Ruskin Collection about 18811295
Capital of Central Pillar, Chapter House, Cathedral of Notre Dame, Senlis, FranceCGSG00766 Ruskin Collection 18811295
Study of Mosaic, Decorative Scroll-work, Eastern Dome, San Marco, Venice, ItalyCGSG00773 Ruskin Collection 18791295
Chiesa Santa Maria della Spina, Pisa, ItalyCGSG00981 Ruskin Collection late 19th-early 20th Century1295
Page of Insect StudiesCGSG01137 Ruskin Collection 1790-18131295
Study of a Capital, Façade of Notre Dame-la-Grande, Poitiers, FranceCGSG01161 Ruskin Collection 18831295
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