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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
West front Or San Michele, showing the Statue of St George, by DonatelloCGSGB383 Ruskin Collection 186513141
West Front, Bayeux Cathedral, FranceCGSG00480 Ruskin Collection 188316841
Western Facade of Chartres Cathedral, FranceCGSG03706 Ruskin Collection late 19th Century14848
Western Façade of the Basilica of San Marco, Venice, ItalyCGSG00780 Ruskin Collection 1877-188216012
Western Porches of the Cathedral from the South, Amiens, FranceCGSG00495 Ruskin Collection 188317965
Western Tower, Le Pont Valentré, Cahors, FranceCGSG00052 Ruskin Collection 188321217
Westminster Bridge and Big Ben, LondonCGSGB157 Ruskin Collection around 1860-187017439
White-Headed EagleCGSG00286 Ruskin Collection 183313291
White-headed EagleCGSG02284 Ruskin Collection 183212878
White-winged Silvery GullCGSG01582 Ruskin Collection 183512746
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