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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
The Well at the World's EndCGSG03573 Ruskin Collection 18965773
The Faerie Queene, Volume 1CGSG03576 Ruskin Collection 18966594
Love is Enough, or the Freeing of Pharamond: A MoralityCGSG04910 Ruskin Collection 18977970
A Note by William Morris on his Aims in Founding the Kelmscott Press, together with a Short Description of the Press by S C Cockerell, and an Annotated List of the Books Printed thereatCGSG04911 Ruskin Collection 18988309
Ruskin, Rossetti and the Pre-RaphaelitesCGSG03919 Ruskin Collection 18999915
Illustrated Quotation; 'Let every Dawn of Morning'CGSG00477 Ruskin Collection around 19001826
Illustrated Quotation; 'Mind Your Own Business' and 'The Distances of Nations'CGSG00478 Ruskin Collection around 19001811
The Grand Canal at St John Chrysostom, Venice, ItalyCGSG03502 Ruskin Collection about 19011706
Nature NotebookCGSG04942 Ruskin Collection 1903-19052167
'Latest Purism': Plate from 'Modern Painters', Volume IIICGSG00662 Ruskin Collection 190413082
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