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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 NumberSorted AscendingCollectionDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
Spheniscus undinaCGSG06320 Ruskin Collection 1840-18487330
Western DuckCGSG06321 Ruskin Collection 1832-183710854
Aglaia fanny and Aglaia WilsoniiCGSG06322 Ruskin Collection 1845-18499720
Colius macrourusCGSG06323 Ruskin Collection mid 19th Century27437
Collection of the Guild of St George,  Museums Sheffield Siskin or AberdevineCGSG06325 Ruskin Collection 1832-18376514
StarlingCGSG06326 Ruskin Collection 1832-18376514
Atelornis squammigera (de la Fresnaye) pucheranCGSG06327 Ruskin Collection 1845-18494858
Red GrouseCGSG06328 Ruskin Collection 1832-18377918
Otus BengalensisCGSG06467 Ruskin Collection 1831-18322013
Ptilonorhynchus SmithiiCGSG06493 Ruskin Collection 1840-18481046
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