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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
View from Chateau Gaillard overlooking the Seine, France, after TurnerCGSG00037 Ruskin Collection 188081272
View from the Mineral Room Window, The Ruskin Museum, Meersbrook Park, SheffieldCGSG04663 Ruskin Collection 1890-19004163
View from the South Window of the Picture Room, The Ruskin Museum, Meersbrook Park, SheffieldCGSG04662 Ruskin Collection 1890-19004567
View of a Church and Cottages in a LandscapeCGSG00760 Ruskin Collection late 19th Century4780
View of Florence from the Boboli Gardens, ItalyCGSGB906 Ruskin Collection 18645942
View of Sheffield from Derbyshire LaneCGSG00144 Ruskin Collection 17976767
View of the Cathedral and City from the River, Amiens, FranceCGSG00494 Ruskin Collection 18834211
View of the Cathedral from the North Side, Amiens, FranceCGSG00498 Ruskin Collection 18834231
View of the East End of Chartres Cathedral from the River Eure, FranceCGSG00101 Ruskin Collection 18855066
View of the East side of the Picture Room, The Ruskin Museum, Meersbrook Park, SheffieldCGSG04669 Ruskin Collection 1890-19004324
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