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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 NumberCollectionSorted AscendingDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
'St George of the Seaweed': Plate from 'Modern Painters', Volume IIICGSG03162 Ruskin Collection 19045481
'Light in the West, Beauvais': Plate from 'Modern Painters', Volume VCGSG00800 Ruskin Collection 190510487
Leafage by Dürer and VeroneseCGSG00595 Ruskin Collection about 19055110
CGSG03156CGSG03156 Ruskin Collection 19051704
Nature NotebookCGSG04941 Ruskin Collection 1905-19224283
'Crests of the Slaty Crystallines': Plate from 'Modern Painters', Volume IVCGSG00324 Ruskin Collection about 1906-19128695
The Ruskin ConnectionCGSG00229 Ruskin Collection about 19922116
Quotation in Calligraphy: 'The Law of Help'CGSG01661 Ruskin Collection about 19852253
Quotation in Calligraphy: 'Prophecy'CGSG01662 Ruskin Collection about 19852564
Quotation in Calligraphy: 'Four Great Laws'CGSG01663 Ruskin Collection about 19852773
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