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 ObjectAccession NumberCollectionDate Made/FoundTimes Viewed
'Brignall Church, Yorkshire', after TurnerCGSG00530 Ruskin Collection about 18808691
'Byzantine Sculpture': Plate from 'The Stones of Venice', Volume IICGSG01587 Ruskin Collection late 19th-early 20th Century7222
'Byzantine, No. 1', from 'The Grammar of Ornament', Plate XXVIIICGSG03053 Ruskin Collection 18566508
'Capitals, Concave group', Study towards 'The Stones of Venice', Volume ICGSG00188 Ruskin Collection about 18516138
'Chain of Alps from Grenoble to Chamberi', from 'Liber Studiorum'CGSG01098 Ruskin Collection 18125768
'Children and their Guardian Angels', detail of 'The Coronation of the Virgin' after Filippo LippiCGSG00166 Ruskin Collection 1876-188011245
'Christ and the Woman of Samaria', from 'Liber Studiorum'CGSG01130 Ruskin Collection 18195543
'Coast of Yorkshire, near Whitby', from 'Liber Studiorum'CGSG01126 Ruskin Collection 18115653
'Cornice Moulding from a Tomb in the Church of SS Giovanni e Paolo': Plate from 'Examples of the Architecture of Venice'CGSG01552 Ruskin Collection 18876506
'Crests of the Slaty Crystallines': Plate from 'Modern Painters', Volume IVCGSG00324 Ruskin Collection about 1906-19127211
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