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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
Melencolia ICGSG00157 Ruskin Collection 15142878
De optimo reipublice statu, deque nova Insula UtopiaCGSG05186 Ruskin Collection 15172741
The CannonCGSG00036 Ruskin Collection 151814149
Portrait of Emperor Maximilian ICGSG00084 Ruskin Collection 15202961
Erasmus of RotterdamCGSG01596 Ruskin Collection 15262783
Les Simulachres & Historieés Faces de la MortCGSG03568 Ruskin Collection 15383877
Historiarum veteris instrumenti icones ad vivum expressaeCGSG03991 Ruskin Collection 15385450
Die ganze Bibel; das ist alle bücher altes und neües TestamentsCGSG03942 Ruskin Collection 15404701
The Workes of Geffray Chaucer newly printed, with dyvers workes whiche were never in print before: As in the table more playnly dothe appereCGSG04401 Ruskin Collection 15454381
Description of the Affairs of CyprusCGSG03632 Ruskin Collection 157111024
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