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John Ruskin
Dates: British, 1819 - 1900
Biographical Account:

John Ruskin was one of the most influential men of the Victorian era. He was most famous as an art critic and artist but as a writer and lecturer he also crossed the fields of science and political economy. 


Ruskin was the son of a wealthy sherry importer and had a sheltered upbringing in London. His early talents of poetry and art were supported by his parents and he was taken on long tours in England and Europe.


At the age of fourteen, Ruskin published his first paper on geology and Volume 1 of his first major work, ‘Modern Painters’ was published in 1843 after he had graduated from Christ Church College, Oxford. From them on, Ruskin published numerous books and articles. He continued to travel frequently and trips to France and Italy influenced both his artistic and architectural ideas. By the 1860s his work started to look more closely at scientific and political theories, although he did continue his work on art teaching and criticism.


During his career, he taught drawing at the Working Men’s College in London, was Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford University and taught art personally and via letters to a number of pupils. Due to mental illness Ruskin spent most of his later years in seclusion at Brantwood, his home at Coniston in the Lake District, where he occupied himself with his mineral collection.

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