Sign on

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 ObjectSorted AscendingAccession NumberCollectionDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
Venus, Vulcan and Cupid, after TintorettoCGSGB212 Ruskin Collection 186824465
Ponte alle Grazie, Florence, ItalyCGSGB226 Ruskin Collection 18651903
Study of Clouds (looking South)CGSGB240 Ruskin Collection 18572477
Giotto's Tower, Florence, ItalyCGSGB268 Ruskin Collection 1866-18692322
Study of Primroses, Florence, ItalyCGSGB307 Ruskin Collection 18681951
Study of Oak GallsCGSGB308 Ruskin Collection 1855-18591979
Study of Tree BranchesCGSGB316 Ruskin Collection between 1850-18822078
Still life with dead goldfinch, lizard and ivy leavesCGSGB323 Ruskin Collection around 1860-18802032
Study of two lemons, an orange and a tomatoCGSGB328 Ruskin Collection 18652883
Spring Flowers, Derbyshire: Purple from Matlock, Primrose from HaddonCGSGB331 Ruskin Collection about 1853-18583176
gPowered byeMuseum

Museums Sheffield

Trying something new can be a little bit scary, but what a great feeling when you make the connection. We're trying new things all the time and we want you to try them too, so come with us and we'll help connect you with art, nature, history, ideas - and each other.

Jump in. Discover something new.

Explore our site